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  • Writer's pictureJane Rubin

For Me, a Symbol of Pride during this Holiday Season

Today, I ordered a Star of David necklace. Seeking a new way to express my Jewish pride during a season of peace and goodwill toward others in an America that suddenly coddles so much hate talk and antisemitism, I decided it was time for me to outwardly identify myself as Jewish, proudly Jewish.

There's a reason I never owned such a necklace. My father, a WWII veteran, who fought in the Pacific, forbade his children to wear symbols of their Jewishness, likening them to the yellow stars the Nazis forced Jews to sew on their clothing to both ostracize and humiliate before taking them in cattle cars to gas chambers. The reminder was horrific to him, a boy soldier who had proudly lived through one of the worst recorded periods of Jewish genocide.

But as his daughter, growing up in a house where this history was barely discussed and in a predominately Christian community, I could not fully appreciate Pop's dogma. For most of my life, I was fortunate to live an almost wrinkle-free world, absent of antisemitism, or at least discrimination I could perceive. Now, it is suddenly surrounding me - everywhere. And not enough strong voices express opposition and disgust for this terrible behavior. Was the hate always here? Why didn't the attack on innocent people in Israel trigger the fierce outrage the attack on Pearl Harbor evoked in America? Where in God's name is all of this antisemitism coming from? What has happened to the America I grew up believing in?

Weeks before October 7th, I boasted to friends of the pride I felt for my children and grandchildren who live in diverse communities, the ordinary days where it is commonplace to encounter friends of all races and religions at their homes, classrooms, and sporting events. Their conflicts are age-appropriate, never involving the color of their skin or religion. How could such hate emerge overnight? What are we teaching our children?

Of course, we know it was never overnight. The hate had been simmering for a long time, growing to a critical mass, the level needed to make mobs feel safe in their expression of open toxicity.

Well, I'm wearing my star - proudly. I am Jewish, and I'm a proud American - the very America my father, uncles, and grandfather daringly risked their lives to protect. And not just for the Jewish people, but for everyone of all races, religions, and ethnic backgrounds.

Wishing all my readers a safe, proud holiday and a peaceful year ahead.


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