Four weeks after the conversation I had at the breakfast table with my father, I sat on coach bus next to my friend Ben, a boy who is now one of my closest friends. Halfway into the ride from Brussels, Belgium, to London, England, nimble fingers began releasing clasps to necklaces that hung silver Star of David pendant and turquoise hamsas; our counselor, Andrew, a man of jovial variety, looked at us with sincerity that had never painted his face prior, and forebode of cautionary times to come, “From this point on, the group has to walk on eggshells, take off any jewelry relating to Judaism, and if anyon...
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...ely worry about their safety on a daily basis, or flee from their home countries to ensure it.
Directly witnessing intense hostility towards the Jewish people in Europe caused a change in my view of my Jewish identity, as well as a higher appreciation of my freedoms as an American. The right to display one’s true religious identity as a Jew has been socially revoked in countries plagued by anti-semitism; this circumstance faced by those abroad has fed into my goal to counteract any ignorance surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Jewish stereotypes that cause defamation. Encouragement of unbiased education on these topics, as well as any topic, has been an important objective of mine since my experience the summer of my sophomore year, and I have done this, and continue to do so, by being active in my surrounding Jewish community and beyond.
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