Why I went to New York

Photo courtesy of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

By Saul Golubcow

On Sunday, I traveled with some 100 Washington-area Jews to New York to support the New York community’s “No Hate – No Fear” solidarity rally against anti-Semitism.

I went not because I thought a mass rally would put a stop to anti-Semitism; not because I expected those infected with hatred of Jews would pay attention and rid themselves of their malevolence; not because I might feel virtuous for having done my part; not because I thought legislation could be passed to impact meaningfully this millennia-old disease.

Rather, I went to be together with other Jews who realize that anti-Semitism will never fully disappear and, in response to this latest call to action, to say, “hinenu, we are here, angry and resolved to fight back.”


I went to be with all types of Jews, to feel the connection among us and to acknowledge that while our haredi Orthodox brothers and sisters may be the most exposed and vulnerable to anti-Semitic predators, if they come for the “black hats,” they will also come for the rest of us.

I went to be with fellow Jews and to ask how to stop seeing our enemies as coming in one supremacist color while ignoring others. How do we cease letting our political and ideological allegiances get in the way of a united battle against all forms of anti-Semitism?

I went hoping to hear from our political leaders, especially Jewish, how we as individuals and they as our elected stewards should react when anti-Semitic tropes are expressed in the halls of Congress. How do we act and not feel powerless watching a contagion seep into the body politic and infect us as a nation?

I went to be one with other lovers of Zion, knowing that the newly linked anti-Semites of left and right share a hatred of Israel as the all-powerful “collective Jew,” with anti-Zionism employed as a camouflage for their virulence.

As I surveyed the crowd of over 25,000 Jews around me and saw several signs with the Star of David held high, I thought that Israel is showing us the way with the only answer possible to anti-Semitism: We must and will survive.

I went hoping that our college students will experience the solidarity of their people as a spur to fighting back against anti-Semitism on their campuses.

I went because opposing anti-Semitism also means plucking up our courage to face down attacks of “Jewish privilege” which sap our self-esteem. I will not be made to feel guilty about the economic, social and political positions we Jews have rightfully achieved, while at the same time contributing enormously to the welfare of our country.

And I went because in June 1942, on an early morning on the outskirts of a small town in Poland called Myori, 1,200 Jews, among them my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and my three half-siblings from my father’s first marriage, were herded to a mass grave. Most were slaughtered. I went to New York because their hallowed memories may reside in this horrible past, but I am fortunate to have a Jewish future before me.

Saul Golubcow writes from Potomac.

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