Being a Jew in America, 2019

4 mins read

The following is a compilation of Twitter threads written on December 9.

I have to tell you. I’m fuming. Watching Trump on C-Span speak to the Israeli-American Council (these are American citizens…):

You have people, that are Jewish people…they don’t love Israel enough, you know that….

I literally gasped. HOW DARE HE tell American Jews what we should love or hate. I don’t have the words to express how utterly chilling it is as an American Jew to hear this immoral, uncompassionate, sick, child-caging criminal think he has ANY RIGHT. (I’m just as disgusted by the crowd shouting “4 more years.”)

AS IF Trump cares about Israel (he’s incapable), AS IF he knows or cares about our Jewish values.

AND THEN HE insinuates (wrongly) that Jews will not vote for Elizabeth Warren (who he calls by his horrid slander name) because they’ll lose all their wealth. THEN he motions to people in the front row, and says, “you know what I mean, you’re dealmakers”… He spends half the time talking about money and “rich guys.”

In ten minutes there are more anti-semitic tropes than I’ve personally heard in my entire life. I’m beside myself. My husband is mad I’m even watching it.

Trump’s speech is about money and building the embassy as if it’s one of his “projects” and stroking his own ego. The only good thing is that he had a “Sir” story which made me smile & think of Daniel Dale.

Trump has made it OK to be anti-Semitic, Islamaphobic, racist, sexist, and everything that I have fought my whole life against. He is dismantling the consciousness so many of us have worked so hard to build and teach.

Unfortunately the statistics of the rise in hate crimes and white nationalist attacks exhibit that his words and attitude have given permission to many. All day I received messages from people asking me, Rabbi – can you explain why people were cheering?

Being a Jew in America, 2019: enduring Donald Trump spew anti-Semitic tropes to a room filled with Jewish-Americans one night, only to hear a US Representative the next day refer to the “New York lawyer“. We know what that means. I just never thought it would be like this in the USA.

In all my years of life, I have never been as concerned about anti-Jewish hate as I am now. I have friends who have taken their Jewish symbol necklaces off. I know people walking around with their passports in their purse just in case. THIS IS NOT OK. Jews need to feel safe here.

Can I use this as a “teaching moment”? When an African-American, gay person, or Mexican-American says they don’t feel safe in this country, the compassionate response is NOT: well, Jews don’t feel safe either. It IS: I hear you. I will stand up for you.

There is enough compassion to go around. This is not the “oppression Olympics.”

The truth I live by is:

Until we are all free, we are none of us free.

Emma Lazarus, “A Quote from Epistle to the Hebrews,” 1883

MANY of us are threatened, and we need to fight for ALL our rights to happiness, safety, and equality, FREE of slurs.

Based on two twitter threads. Re-posted with permission.

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Rabbi Jill Berkson Zimmerman leads Path With Heart and Hineni, a spiritual mindfulness community that meets online. She is committed to justice and sharing wisdom that makes a difference in people’s lives. She can be found at

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