Are Jews People?

Are Jews People?

A question I never thought I'd have to answer.
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Are Jews people?

I wish I could say that that wasn't a question asked in the modern day. Increased international liberalization, particularly in the US over the last few years, has made me hope that people would be more sensitive to others who are of different religions, races, and cultural backgrounds. Alas, that is not the case.

I'm part of an organization on campus entitled WIPAC, Washington University Israel Public Affairs Committee, which is a pro-Israel political advocacy organization. At the airport on the way home for Thanksgiving, I opened my WIPAC Exec GroupMe chat hoping to find something else to be thankful for, but instead finding an extremely troubling message. My friend shared in our GroupMe the following image of a CNN broadcast on Monday, November 21 about the transition to Trump's America.


The headline of the picture above reads “Alt-Right Founder Questions If Jews Are People." The CNN segment is part of their analysis on “The Trump Transition."

Maybe it's just an example of an ultra-conservative mentality that won't really affect the way that the world sees Jews. But I know that's just naive and wishful thinking. Because now, with Donald Trump's election alarmingly spurring alt-right and racist movements, I have a mounting fear of possible actions that could be taken against Jews like me in the country I call home. And in the so-called "land of the free," I know this shouldn't be a concern.
To those who are questioning, yes, Jews are people. It's crazy, I know. And as it turns out, I am a Jew, too. Just like any other people, we live in this country, voted for the president, and deserve to be represented appropriately by our government. But because we have fears for our country and for Israel, which is a second home to many of us, our WIPAC GroupMe exists. It exists so that we can spread the word of the mutual benefits of the US-Israel relationship and assert that Jews aren't just people; we're a strong people. We're survivors of thousands of years of twisted history. We're survivors of the brutal Holocaust, and I can guarantee we'll be survivors of Trump's America and of whatever racist, anti-Semitic notions it cultivates.
As a child, I used to think that blatant and prevalent anti-Semitism was a thing of the past. At least in America. I'll be the first to admit I was wrong, and in the last decade, my Jewish identity has been confronted with too much anti-Semitism. Any anti-Semitism is too much anti-Semitism.

Thanksgiving Day this year explicitly proved my childhood self-wrong. I woke up on Thanksgiving morning to a Facebook notification that many of my friends had "marked themselves safe during The Fires in Haifa, Israel." These fires had forced over 60,000 people to evacuate its 3rd largest city, Haifa. They blazed through headlines and homes, tearing through the country. I was devastated to hear the news, for I stayed with a family in Haifa just a few years ago who made me feel like Israel was my second home. The thought of flames lapping at our Promised Land, tearing through forests and buildings and hospitalizing hundreds, was enough to make my blood curdle. I was partially consoled by the fact that many of my friends were safe, at least according to Facebook, but as I went to eat Thanksgiving "linner" at 1pm, I couldn't press the images of my friends fleeing Haifa out of my mind. How could I be thankful for a day when Israel was threatened by anti-Semitism and suspected arson? I was grateful, however, for the international community's aid to Israel and it's my hope that nations such as Turkey, Russia, and Greece, all of whom provided aid to Israel during this tragedy, will continue to support the Holy Land in the future. Of course, it’s my hope that Israel will never again be eaten by flames, but from international anti-Semitism expressed in the suspected arson, in the alt-right founder’s comments, and in the words and actions of many others, I know this will likely not be the case.

My Hebrew name is יהודית (Yehudit), which translates to English as, quite simply, “Jew." I must thank my parents and the Ashkenazi (Eastern European Jewish) tradition of naming Jewish children after their deceased family members for the “ultimate Jewish name," as I like to call it. But I'm proud of it. Yehudit doesn't just come from my grandmother; it extends from thousands of years of Yehudim (Jews). Of their stories and history, and of their cultures and customs. And if my super-Jewish name, "Jew nose" that curves like a pitcher's mound, brown curly hair, and short height don't answer the lady's question, then I don't know what does.

In all seriousness, however, questions like hers aren't meant to be taken lightly because they shock the world into realizing that xenophobia and anti-semitism are alive and rife even within supposedly forward-thinking countries like America. The alt-right founder who voiced her opinions on CNN is a product of a movement that penetrates right through the heart of the Jewish people, a people who have been through so much and who have just as much a right as any to exist and to be considered people.

I'm confused. I'm confused about why people in our country and our world are questioning the existence of actual, real, people who have a right to exist. I'm confused about why people in this world are denying Jews the right to exist. And I'm confused about why there is STILL such a hatred of Jews after all of this time. But I am not confused about the fact that this is a call to action for me. And for you.

This image in a GroupMe seen by 13 people of a program on a TV screen seen by millions of people says something about our country and our world: anti-Semitism is alive and well. But our GroupMe and this piece say something else: anti-Semitism must be stopped, and I know that Jews and non-Jews alike will continue to assert that Jews are people even if history contorts itself at Jews’ expense again. And the world will hear our cry.

Cover Image Credit: Personal

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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How Incorporating Organization In My Daily Routine Single-Handedly Changed My Life

And how it can structure yours.

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It would be a complete fabrication of the truth if I pretended that my life in any way has been picture perfect. Things are messy, life is messy, and my life becomes an endless cycle of self provoked destruction.

I've had short bursts of motivation as a last expedient to seize control of the downward spiral I have endured. But mostly they have diminished along with any motivation I have left.

None of these short term solutions have yet to salvage my mental, physical, and academic state. SO, as an attempt to overhaul my life, I decided the best way to strive for control, is to organize every aspect of my life.

Yes, this could become unhealthy if I used this tactic as a way to tear myself down or over analyze my accomplishments, or lack thereof. But I try to view my life as something I have a say in while considering that not everything will be perfect or completely satisfy my goals for myself.

To successfully enact this measure, I try to never go into a day unaware of what I must accomplish, what tasks/work I have to attend to, and stocked with a full calendar and set of alarms that prevent me from missing deadlines. Although mildly time-consuming to detail my life in advance, it is greatly beneficially outweighed through the amount of time this tactic saves me.

Recently, I have noticed how much happier I have been, and feel as if my life is back on track and it's future in my hands. This has allowed me to work an upwards of 50 something hours a week, see and manage friends, read and keep up with hobbies, as well as give me peace of mind and time to relax with loved ones.

I am grateful for the role that organization has played in my life and suggest that everyone incorporate some type of underlying structure in their lives, to realize that anything is achievable with proper organizational preparation.


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