The gifts of the past seven months

Amidst all of the noise, the antisemitism, the betrayal of our friends and communities, Jews have access to our global community as we never have before

Dena Moses is a handweaver and entrepreneur living in Putney. You can find her at vermontweavingsupplies.com.

PUTNEY-As a Jew living in Vermont, I find myself working to process all that has happened since Oct. 7. It hits on many fronts ... the massacre itself, and then the shock and disbelief in the aftermath.

While we were deep in grief and trauma, friends whom we had loved and trusted turned their backs on us, claiming to know more than we do about our own history, about our people, and about what is and is not antisemitism.

I was born two decades after the liberation of the German death camps. I grew up with teachers who had brands on their arms and who told stories of barely escaping from Europe.

While running around in the schoolyard, playing children's games, classmates would rattle off the numbers of family members who were murdered in the Holocaust.

My own grandparents came from Eastern Europe before the war. My mother's parents were born in the United States and were well assimilated.

My father's parents, who had immigrated as teenagers, were less assimilated, and had lost many who stayed behind.

* * *

One of the cores of antisemitism is the replacement of truth with lies. There is a staggering amount of this happening right now.

I spend several hours each day fact checking, source checking, exploring firsthand accounts of what is happening, and reading different perspectives. It is not what I imagined I would be doing at this point in my life, but I am grateful to have the resources and enough knowledge to untangle fact from fiction.

Unfortunately, when I provide clear and well-sourced information to others, all too often I am met with indifference or the holding on to a belief in things that are easily proven false. This is one more way that antisemitism plays out.

Many people have a deep dislike and distrust of Jews. Their refusal to accept well-sourced information that goes against their beliefs is dangerous, and I believe that we really should know better - and do better.

* * *

Many Jews are living in their terror, the terror that we learned early in life. We were raised in a community of people who saw what can happen when the world turns its back.

We see the warning signs, and we see the indifference and ignorance of so many of our friends, neighbors, and politicians.

But we also see so much more.

We see that we are strong, funny, smart, and compassionate. We see that we are great strategists and organizers. We know, deep down in our souls, that we are good and that we are loved by each other.

We have a strong tradition that has taught us that the reason we are alive is to do mitzvahs (good deeds), to make the world a better place, to be a shining light.

The gift that these seven months has given me is a much stronger connection with other Jews and with non-Jews who are committed to being our allies. For every friend that I have lost, I have gained so many more.

I feel at home with my people in a way that is new to me, and in the process, I am finding myself and my voice, stronger than ever.

* * *

Right now, amidst all of the noise, the antisemitism, the betrayal of our friends and communities, we have access to our global community as we never have before.

We cannot wait for the rest of the world to give us permission to live, and to live with joy. We must claim this for ourselves.

And in claiming it, in all of our beauty, intellect, and humor, we will continue to share those gifts with our families, our neighborhoods, our state, and our country.

Never again is now, because we have each other. I am deeply grateful.

Now let's eat!

This Voices Viewpoint was submitted to The Commons.

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