The Presence of Jewish Heritage In Our School

Gloria Gaye

 

In recent weeks, antisemitic posts have been shared across many mainstream social media platforms. Antisemitic means prejudice against Jewish people and their religion. Celebrities such as Kanye West and Kyrie Irving have stated antisemitic comments in the media and tried to hide it as an opinion. These comments have been applauded and shared by users across various platforms. It’s time for social media and the education system to recognize the positive in the Jewish community. KTR had the chance to interview some Jewish students and teachers in the community and here’s what they had to say. 

“Having a Jewish identity makes me feel unique and more connected to my family” Chelsea Park, teacher at CHS, said about Judaism and her identity. She further explains how she feels connected to her faith because she has the opportunity to celebrate and enjoy traditions that have been passed down for generations. Along those lines, a student at CHS, Benny Sherman said, “It affects my everyday life; through my family, the customs I grew up with, the food I eat and, the language that my parents speak.” Benny also mentioned that he works at his local synagogue, where he teaches kids. “It’s a large part of my identity and the traits I have physically and emotionally.”

We live in a Christian centered society, where not that many people acknowledge or even know Jewish or other religious holidays. “Definitely one of the strangest things is people not knowing at all that it’s a major Jewish holiday. We had school on Yom Kippur this year, and I had to explain to people multiple times why I was fasting.” Lucy Gray, another student at CHS stated when discussing her feelings about people not recognizing her religion during the holidays. She understands that students don’t have the opportunity to learn more about Judaism, but at the same time feels that she shouldn’t constantly explain one of the “most important and religiously significant holiday of the year.” On the other hand, Benny said “I personally necessarily don’t mind it.” He further goes on to say, “as a Jew a lot of the significance behind Hanukkah in some ways are artificial” 

If you’re curious and want to learn more about Judaism, Lucy Gray has started a Jewish Culture Heritage Club. The first meeting is on Monday, November 21 after school. “The purpose of the club is to highlight Jewish culture and facilitate conversations about the way antisemitism is discussed” stated by Lucy Gray.