Je Suis Moi

This past summer I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks in Paris and Normandy with my peers. We skipped from markets to patisseries as we criss-crossed neighborhoods in order to better understand how the French expressed their identities through their food ways. I was blissful slurping oysters and guzzling wine; climbing castles and mastering metros. Life in France was as seductive and sweet as a perfectly ripe peach. I didn't want to leave. A short month later synagogues and shops in and around Paris were attacked as angry crowds chanted "death to the Jews" in protest of Israel's invasion of Gaza. Back home in Brooklyn, I wondered how my time in France would have been different had the violence erupted while I was there. I thought of the Jewish butcher, Michael Kalifa, and his wife Franca who spoiled us silly with house charcuterie and good wine on the cobblestoned streets of the Marais. Were they fearful? Their tiny shop, Maison David, had Jewish stars conspicuously carved into the storefront. I was fearful for them. Here in New York I take for granted all of my freedoms whether it be speech or religion. Even though I am not religious, I know there are people who wish me dead because I am Jewish. I am devastated by the senseless murders of the poor journalists who were silenced forever because they dared to have a voice. I am terrified by the continued targeted hate and violence against the Jews in France and around the world. ‪#‎JeSuisCharlie‬? Je ne sais pas. Do I stand in solidarity with the murdered journalists and all of those who have ever shouted loud enough to be heard over all the noise or had the courage to believe the pen is mightier than the sword? Yes, YES of course. But have I ever felt that I was putting myself at risk by speaking my opinion? No, I haven't. I have never experienced personal persecution or threats of any kind and maybe that's because I'm an American or a white person or a New Yorker or all of those things. I only know what I am and I have never had to feel afraid because of it.  ‪#‎JeSuisJuif‬ I was born that way. Why should anyone have to die for it?