A Compassionate Letter from Sheri Nadelman
I feel the nagging at my very soul to exclaim that there is no place for hate in my world. None.
I know it’s a silly statement, but unless you have been living under a rock and haven’t seen the state of the world, just turn on the news and you’ll see it’s not such a silly statement. It’s all around us. And so here it is and here we are in 2023 dealing with such deep-rooted in-your-face Hate.
I am an American, a third generation Jewish American. I was born to Jewish parents and grew up in Brooklyn, New York in a wonderful neighborhood that was primarily Italian and Jewish. We celebrated holidays with each other, sharing meals and a mutual respect. Everyone felt at home at everyone’s table and embraced one another as one of their own. My Jewish upbringing was cultural, not religious. My family never belonged to a temple. I don’t speak Hebrew. I did not go to Hebrew school. I have never been to Israel. Admittedly, my Jewishness was always taken for granted and I never felt uncomfortable. It wasn’t until I moved away and started a family of my own when I realized that I must be active if I were to keep Judaism in my life. And now I am a Jew living in a world where the reality is that there are people who want us obliterated from the planet.
Antisemitism is at an all-time high. Oh, I know it’s always been there, hidden down low and not spoken about out loud. There are those that have the audacity to question the Holocaust. I’ve had my own brush with antisemitism throughout my life. I’ve been referred to as “you people,” called a JAP to my face and worse behind my back.
A recent experience that rattled me to the bone happened just a couple of years ago on a beautiful Sunday afternoon when I was on stage performing at a tiki bar with my band. A bunch of bikers with swastikas emblazoned on their jackets walked in.
I froze. I didn’t know what to do and I just tried as best I could to keep my composure.
I just keep asking myself how it is possible that in this day and age that people don’t understand that the symbol they flaunt represents pure hate? Truth is, they DO know what it means. And here we are with hate rearing its ugly head as never before in my lifetime. It has found its way to the forefront of this tumultuous chaotic world. It has infiltrated my every waking moment. I am trying so hard to maintain some semblance of normalcy which seems to get more and more challenging.
One thing I know for sure is that the hatred in Israel has always been bubbling under the surface like a volcano about to blow. The politics of it all has created mass confusion and misinformation. People taking to the streets all over the world in protest – some for what they don’t understand. I don’t understand a lot of what has happened, and I won’t try to explain what I don’t know.
I have, however, always known that the Middle East is a volatile part of the world – a world which has been admittedly far from my world. I have Israeli friends who live here and American friends who live there. To say they are a strong and yes oftentimes brazen people is an understatement. I’ve always been told they live their lives despite and in spite of the ever-looming danger.
Let me be clear about one thing that is MY truth. My heart aches for every single innocent life that was taken. EVERY SINGLE INNOCENT LIFE. They were slaughtered, tortured, and kidnapped by terrorists. Hate mongering terrorists. Make no mistake about it they want us dead and not just the Jewish community. Hamas has no regard for humanity. None.
I am not a religious person. I am however a spiritual person and I respect humanity. I have suffered deep loss and the level of loss and despair that I see around me just shatters me. It pains me to my core to think of what this world will look like in the future. We are destroying each other.
I have never felt afraid before and I when I see the Jews all over the world feeling the same. I will tell you that we are not ok. In fact, it is a young Jewish dear friend of mine who is a Tampa radio personality who expressed his own fear on the air which spoke volumes to me and inspired me to write this. I keep hearing we need compassion and need to know that our friends, our neighbors our communities have our backs and need to denounce the terrorists. Denounce the terrorists. It’s that simple.
I will try to find solace in my music and in taking snippets of my world with my camera. I will keep writing stories, walking my dogs, and pouring myself into my performances. I will also continue to carry the sadness and mourn along with the thousands who grieve. And I will try to keep the hate and the fear at bay.