• Angela Van Der Pluym

Falling in Love with Judaism While Fighting Anti-Semitism

Updated: Sep 24, 2019

Falling in love with Judaism didn’t come easy to me.

I’ve always known I am Jewish. I used to find displeasure when people would point it out to me. Having a Jewish identity, a Jewish culture, or Judaism was not a part of me.

On a quest to learn more about my roots, in 2018 I chose to go on Birthright to Israel. I embarked on a journey to seek meaning in being Jewish and our history. Upon my return and inspired by the memories from my trip, I became increasingly involved in the local synagogue. I joined the Social Action and Social Justice committee. I went to weekly Shabbat services, holiday, and charity events. I was hungry for more, so I dove deeper.

As an avid reader and lover of history, my new love of all-things-Jewish began to pour over into my bookshelves. Books moved in about antisemitism throughout time, our Jewish history, our culture, and the Arab/Israeli conflict.

The more I read the more I realized -- history is repeating itself.

Here I was working hard to connect to Judaism; meanwhile, all I saw were news headlines about hateful acts all around the world against Jewish people, my people. This truly upset me and fired in me the desire to be more involved in an impactful way. But how? I read a quote once which stated that, “In order to combat anti-Semitism, one must become more Jewish.”

This is precisely what I intended to accomplish.

I was introduced to J-Life and RAJE through a friend. I knew this would be the opportunity I needed to get more involved with the Jewish community. I believe in the importance of having open intellectual dialect on what it means to be Jewish today. The old adage is true: those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. Therefore, we must stand up and fight for what is right. We live in a time where open anti-Semitic behavior is becoming the norm and we are becoming numb to it. This does not sit well with me. I fear for our communities, for future generations, and myself.

I dream of a better world.

I follow global current events and as an American I have a special interest in topics affecting the United States. My background in Political Science and Public Law provided me with a strong foundation in legislation and current affairs. When I see congresswomen associated with terrorist groups, anti-Semitic behavior, and support the BDS movement, I need to stand up and say, “NO!” I open people’s eyes on these subjects by spreading whatever information I can. Whether people listen or not, I find it my duty to spread awareness in order to combat anti-Semitism. Our generation cannot be silent. We cannot leave our problems for someone else to resolve.

I feel passionately about Judaism and everything it represents.

I will not allow people to attack us for it. I have seen rallying in New York to fight against anti-Semitism. My goal is to start rallying here. I hope to inspire others who feel like I do. We need to stand up against hate and stand with our fellow Jews. We are all the same, one tribe. If we don’t stop the hatred now it will continue to spread. It is important to establish relationships with our local statesmen and leaders, so they know how we feel about specific issues and how we want them to vote. We can make a difference. We must be PROUD Jews.

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