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Orthodox Conundrum

Nov 6, 2023

Everyone who listens to this podcast has heard about the waves of antisemitism that have been engulfing the world ever since October 7th; I’m sure that many people who listen have also experienced some of that antisemitism first hand. There is something so fundamentally Orwellian when the reaction to the slaughter of 1400 innocent people and the kidnapping of about 250 hostages is to demonstrate against the victims of the massacre. And that was before Israel responded; now that Israel is defending itself against Hamas in Gaza, the canards about Israeli ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Palestinians have only become louder and more insistent.

Until now, the words we say at the Pesach seder sometimes seemed like a remnant from the past. No longer. 

This promise is what stood by our ancestors and us. For not just one enemy alone rose against us to destroy us, but in every generations enemies rise against us to destroy us; and the Holy One, Blessed is He, saves us from their hand.

These words sound not only like history, but also like prophecy.

To discuss this rise in antisemitism, I was honored to speak with Avital Chizhik Goldschmidt. We talked about the reasons that the epicenter seems to be on elite college campuses, the ways that these antisemitic protests are different from others in recent years, some of the questions she has received as a rebbetzin, including whether a mother can buy a cross for her son to wear when he is with non-Jews, the conflation of antisemitism and Islamophobia, whether the new antisemitism represents a loud but fringe phenomenon or whether it’s representative of a significant sector of the population, the problem of celebrities with massive influence being weighing in on matters about which they know less than they think, what Jewish people should do in response to antisemitism, and much more.

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Music: "Happy Rock" by