The 100 Years Club Installment #39: Life During WartimeReading Time: 2 minutes
I’ll never forget these frightening times in my life:
- As a little girl: I stared at the numbers on the arms of my grandmother’s Holocaust survivor friends and wondered if the tattoos hurt. I knew that my step-grandfather’s entire family was slaughtered when he was 14 and he moved alone to London to learn tailoring.
- As a teenager: Arguing with my mom about the Vietnam War, I threatened to go to Canada if my brother was drafted (as I watched atrocities on a small black-and-white TV.)
- As a college student: I experienced my first-ever anti-Semitic slur at a party. It was the first time I felt hatred against Jews.
- As a young mother: After work, I explained to my daughters on 9/11 that war had indeed come to the U.S. (after promising them previously that it could never happen).
And here I sit, in my sixties, trying to process the horrors in Israel and realizing that I am still not safe, especially as a Jewish American.
Although I’ve tried to live my “normal” life this week, I couldn’t even bring myself to post last weekend, thinking about the thousands of humans who have faced loss and are still in captivity.
And, my heart bleeds for people like me — just parents, children, and workers who didn’t do anything wrong to deserve their fates.
Even at my age, I feel angry and fearful.
- Afraid for the world my daughters and granddaughters live in.
- Terrified that humans have not evolved to be compassionate and forgiving.
- Scared that I’ll never be able to unsee the tragic images and words proliferating on social media and evening news.
- Helpless that I can’t do more to stop the madness.
So, I attempt to live my life, pretending that war will ultimately end and that I can take small steps every day to educate and inspire people to understand what “my tribe” has lived through over the centuries.
I will call out intolerance when I see it
Enemies and haters hope that their words and deeds will paralyze, silence or distract us. I won’t let them have that satisfaction.
But I’m just afraid I may not see peace in my lifetime. And that is the scariest thing of all.