Shalhevet should teach us how to face down hate

By Kyla Zackary, Ninth Grade

I know of a student at Shalhevet who contacted an editor for her book. She was having a normal conversation with him when she happened to mention she was Jewish, at which point he was no longer interested in working with her. Having no education on the matter, as a 14-year-old girl, she had no way to respond to his reaction.

Wednesday, Jan. 27, marked Holocaust Remembrance Day. The entirety of this year’s observance was a Schoology post from a 10th-grade student, Amalia Abecassis. Although Shalhevet celebrates Yom Hashoah very seriously, Holocaust Remembrance Day should at least have been more than that.
As a Jewish school, it is our duty both to pass down our history and to recognize similar incidents in today’s society. Anti-semitism should be part of our awareness. Considering the number of anti-Jewish hate crimes today, why are we not being taught to combat them? It’s not hard to find information the school could share. ADL, the Anti-Defamation League, is a national organization that was founded to target and combat hate directed towards Jews. Recently it has begun to counter bias in schools and the criminal justice system, along with cyberbullying, terrorism, hate crimes and contempt directed towards all minorities and individuals with differences. ADL has a webpage where one can find many recent acts of
antisemitism. Most examples posted there have been directed towards Jews, but there are some that speak negatively towards people of color as well. Not only is our own community facing discrimination, but it is clear that the individuals who seek out Jews oftentimes also target people of other races.

Antisemitism is real, and Shalhevet has to make a greater effort to educate its students about discrimination one may face as a Jew in 2021.

— Kyla Zackary

For example, it reported this incident in Sacramento, Calif., on Jan.31 of this year: “Anti-semitic and racist graffiti that included swastikas and messages that read: ‘Racism is good,’ ‘Punish Jews,’ […] and ‘n—-killer’ “ was found spray-painted on a fence in a residential neighborhood. “Racism is good,” it reads. This creates an opportunity for our two communities to conjoin. African-Americans and Jews are a lot more alike than one may believe. We must put together our knowledge and wisdom, and attempt to repair our society to slowly become like-minded and more kind towards one another.

Antisemitism is real, and Shalhevet has to make a greater effort to educate its students about discrimination one may face as a Jew in 2021. In the past, our failure to recognize this led to a genocide. Even though Shalhevet recognizes Yom Hashoah, there should have been more acknowledgment towards Holocaust Remembrance Day than a few sentences on a Schoology post. And its curriculum should ensure that a girl capable enough to write a book knows what to say when an editor shuts her down for being Jewish. Jews in today’s world are often perceived in an unfavorable light, and Shalhevet must teach its students about the undeniably harsh nature of the world around them. We should acknowledge the ideas of unity, respect, and above all, love. Hate towards one is hate towards all.