I Don’t Care If You’re Not Afraid Of Nazis

I don’t care if you’re not afraid.

I don’t care if you’ve been scared of the swastika since you were born, and this latest outpouring of Jew-hatred is actually, to be frank, a relief, a validation of your perceptions that we, as a people, are screwed, or that we, as a people, will be expelled from yet another land, or that we, as a people, need to move back to our biblical roots.

I don’t care if you’re more scared about the “alt-left,” anti-Zionism, antisemitism, or Antifa.

Nothing interests me less than your theories on the downfall of civilization as we know it.

Right now, your blood boils, and words beg to spill from your mouth, but really, please, not now.

Not yet.

Just let me have my moment.

Let me feel afraid.

Let me double-check my lock every night, because I’m secretly paranoid that Nazis will plot to cut it down, because my husband vocally speaks out against the President and his minions of this land.

Let me walk around in a grey cloud of anxiety because the sight of modern day Nazis, proudly sauntering around on national TV, cut through my protective neurological layer of reality-shielding, and I haven’t been the same since.

Those stories they told me, were real.

The ghettos. The boxcars. The burning flesh. The mounds of broken, manipulated bodies. Everything.

Can you let me have this time now to soak it in, to mourn for my past and my people?

Let me walk around with a broken heart in the middle of this beautiful, August summer day, with food in my cupboard but still a starving, orphaned soul.

Let me wallow in my belief that I am not welcome anywhere; the last great pariah, a perpetual outsider, haunted and hunted.

Let me be that kind of a Jew for a moment.

And then, after you’ve absorbed my fear and soothed my shaking, whisper sweet nothings in my ear about how everything is going to be okay, and that we will fight this fight together.

Pump me with hope and stories of people overcoming battles big and small, standing up for justice and prospering. Tell me this has always been the story of us.

Remind me that we are many and that they are few.

Repeat ad naseum until I feel safe.

And if, and when, I slip back into Auschwitz, give me that space and time to dig myself out from my grave again to recover.

Leave some warm soup and tea on the table to revive me, as I limp towards you, all frail and gaunt, all bones and spirit.

Let me be just that.

 

This is a guest post by Rivka Nehorai. Find her writing on Hevria and her art on Facebook.