Please speak up for us
My son is four years old. He wears bright orange shoes with a cat sticker on the right toe to help him know right from left. Today he is wearing a purple tee shirt and a blue zip up hoodie. His underwear has trucks on them, which he calls his “secret trucks.” When I drop him off at school I kiss his palm and tell him if he needs a kiss from me he can press his hand to his cheek and that is me kissing him.
His best friend saved a seat for him today at the table with blocks. When my son saw him he said, brightly, “Oh hi! I missed you when I was sleeping!”
He goes to preschool at a synagogue. This morning the synagogue was tagged with graffiti. I stood with my friend outside the school while custodians scrubbed it from the sidewalk.
On social media, the voices that are loudest about protecting Jews are also loud about Israel. This is not about Israel. This is about a little boy with secret trucks in that building. This is about a boy who has one cat sticker on his shoe. When he drops something on the ground he says “That’s life!” Before he goes to bed, he tells me “I love you more than every second.” This is about a boy in a purple tee shirt and shaggy hair that badly needs a trim. This is about a boy who needs to be safe right now. Today. Please stand up for him. Please don’t shrug off threats against Jewish children as collateral for the bombs being dropped across the world.
There is no vast Jewish world with wealth and nations ready to welcome us. There is nowhere for us to go. He goes home and he goes to the park and he goes to the dinosaur museum and he goes to school. At his school someone took a can of spray paint and wrote words he cannot read and he walked over them with an orange shoe with a cat sticker on the right toe.
There is no expectation of reciprocity in allyship. There is only standing up for what is right. As we scroll past your selfies and scream into the dark. For your friends and neighbors and strangers who exist even when someone tells them they have no right to exist.
Please speak out against antisemitism. When I kiss my son on the palm, please allow me to do that without unimaginable terror in my chest. May he never press it against his cheek wishing I were there to shield him instead. Crying out for me because nobody else cried out for him.
Thank you thank you thank you. You are the hope it will be different this time.