What enslaves us is our past. My Grandpa was a Holocaust survivor; he always used to feel uncomfortable seeing men in kippot or women wearing Jewish star jewelry. He would say, “Why advertise it?” He lost most of his family simply because they were Jewish. Displaying our heritage today is a sign of pride, whereas before, it was perverted to be a sign of shame.
What liberates us is community. I have always been involved in the Jewish community, from Sunday school at The Temple toThe Weber School. I have been working at Congregation Etz Chaim going on four years and interning at the AJT. I tell everyone “if you look at my resume … you will know I am Jewish.” The Jewish community surrounds me and provides me with so many opportunities.
My grandfather saw being Jewish as what enslaves us because during his time, it did. I see being Jewish as what frees us. I am proud to live in a community and a time that allows me to wear a Jewish star around my neck and my KSU Hillel shirt with Hebrew letters. Anti-Semitism has been prevalent throughout history, but so has the perseverance of the Jewish people.
Passover is a holiday about slavery and freedom. The stories of our past are what remind us of what our limitations once were. We observe special holidays to pay our respects to our ancestors. There will always be things that limit you; the trick is to turn them into things that can free you.
Lilli Jennison is an intern in the creative department.