To the Editor:

A recent Pew Research Center study indicates that 73 percent of Jews in America stated that “remembering the Holocaust” is an essential part of what being Jewish means to them. As a student of the Holocaust, I always found that this statistic confounds non-Jews. To them, the Holocaust was a crime committed over 70 years ago, but to those of us who have relatives who were murdered during that era, the Holocaust is burned into our collective memory.

It is with that lens that, on the first night of the Jewish New Year, I received University President John J. DeGioia’s letter about the recent acts of anti-Semitism on our campus. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised at all. Anti-Semitism, in its modern form, has existed for hundreds of years. From democratic to totalitarian regimes, anti-Semitism flourishes during times of social upheaval and economic strife. As millennials, we live in a constructed reality where we believe that pluralism and liberalism will always triumph over the “evil” of reactionaries, but that just isn’t true. So, I ask again, why are we surprised that this happened here?

On campus, I was heartened by the overwhelming condemnation of these acts by students, faculty and staff alike; however, we have to do more. At its core, modern anti-Semitism is a racist ideology, and verbal condemnation just won’t cut it. As students, we must demand that action be taken to rectify the alarming rise of anti-Semitism on our campus. Facebook statements by our student government and emails from administration will do nothing to stem the rise of hatred. Instead, we have to reflect on who we are as a community, and we must mandate that more resources be devoted to educating ourselves about the horrors of an ideology that contributed to the murder of millions.

Jonathan Lanz (COL ’19)

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