Anti-Semitism from My Own Kind

(tulisan ini merupakan bagian dari serial #YourStoriesMatter. Kamu juga bisa mengirimkan tulisanmu di sini).

My name is Benjamin Krapivsky, and I am a Russian Jew born and raised in the city of Toronto.

My parents originally emigrated from Russia in the 80s and we do retain some Russian traditions like the language, what we eat and the bedtime stories and superstitions I grew up with. I was never a religious person, and I say I’m Jewish in a more ethnic sense than the religious sense. Sure I celebrate Hanukkah, Purim and Pesach but it’s the same way non- religious WASP Americans celebrate Christmas and Easter. Because of my non-religious nature, I grew up affiliating more as a Russian than I do as a Jew. But that was about to change by the time I hit age 15.

I was enrolled in a pretty prestigious high school with a mostly non-Jewish student population. Most of the students enrolled there came from Eastern European or Armenian backgrounds and they were mostly Christians. Initially I hung out with the Russian kids; I mean we did speak the same language among other similarities. But by the 3 rd week of school, I realized that these Russians I hung out with picked on the few Jewish kids there. The Jewish kids being picked on weren’t from a Russian background; most of them came from Lithuanian or Ukrainian backgrounds. But they were getting picked on specifically because they were Jewish.

I was afraid of getting picked on and bullied too and I sure as hell didn’t want to lose my newfound friends. But after a while it dawned on me that it was more than just playground bullying going on. Even in the absence of the Jewish kids they picked on, these guys kept their hatred toward the Jewish people clear. They were even perpetuating straight up Nazi-era anti-Semitism like the rumour that Jews bite children’s foreskins off and that we Jews retroactively sabotage the economy for our benefit. It was weird because before all that, even though I saw myself as a Jew, I didn’t have too much connection with that identity. Yes I knew about the Holocaust and the pogroms back in Europe, but prior to witnessing those around me perpetuate anti-Semitism, I more or less disconnected myself in terms of sympathy and sense

of belonging.

Eventually I would stop hanging out with those racist bullies. I found a different group of more eclectic friends from various backgrounds. We even hung out with the Jewish kids who got bullied by the others; and even though eventually the bullies started targeting us, we didn’t are.

We knew that in our diversity and tolerance that we were better than them.

Tidak ada yang layak diperlakukan secara diskriminatif. Kirim tulisanmu sekarang, karena #YourStoriesMatter dan sekarang adalah #SaatnyaBerhenti.