During January and February, I had the privilege of leading a TBELLE class titled “Anti-Semitism: The Scourge That Has Affected Us So Profoundly—Its Origins, Its March Through History, and Its Current Face.” It was a deeply rewarding experience for me in many ways. As the title states, antisemitism has been and continues to be a scourge, a virus. It affects members of our community deeply and I was able to use part of each class and a full additional class for classmates to speak candidly about their fears and concerns for ourselves and their children and grandchildren. The class included a minister with whom I have studied and furthered one of my passions, interfaith study and dialogue.
Like many members of the class, I am a second generation American whose grandparents escaped the terror and hatred of antisemitism in Europe. On the one hand, it reminded us of the lives that our ancestors escaped and the opportunities that they gave us in America. Sadly, the class also made us more fully aware that this disease still exists, here in America and around the world. It also reinforced for many of us our need to love and support Israel because it serves as an oasis for Jews everywhere. One of the most poignant points made in class was that perhaps the Holocaust would not have been as devastating as it was if a Jewish state existed in the 1930s.
For me on a personal level, it enhanced and grew my connection to so many TBE members in a very personal way. It also reinforced what I already knew that everything at TBE is a team effort. Max Wallace, Elise Lublin, Laura Rosenthal, Lynn Burke, Susan Karon, Sandy Goldstein, and our clergy were with me throughout the preparation and teaching of the class.