Everything changed on October 7th, 2023.The world felt different; more frightening, more chaotic, more imbalanced.

Collectively, Jews all over the globe felt the horrific pain that Hamas had inflicted.


At first, we felt the world had our backs. We believed any civilized culture supported us after the worst genocidal attack against Jews since the holocaust.  After all our devotion to social justice, our loyalty to those in pain, our commitment to support those without a voice, it was time for the world to stand with us, to make sure every hostage would be released.


But as time marched on, support for Israel and American Jews started to wane. Political powers became critical. Governments ignored the horrors and atrocities perpetrated against us. The optimism of saving all our hostages dwindled. We began feeling unsafe in our own neighborhoods. Some of us chose to hide our Jewishness to maintain some sort of social equilibrium and not draw attention to ourselves.


Our kids began to face antisemitism on playgrounds, in high schools, and across college campuses. We felt it at work, in town squares, and at local events in our own neighborhoods. The similarities to centuries of past pogroms became undeniable.


It is now more than 4 months after Hamas’ brutal massacre. Over 130 hostages remain in captivity. Many of them perhaps dead already. At least 8 Americans are still being held by Hamas militants. Hostages who have been released report sexual abuse and suffocating conditions. They relay tales of beatings, lice, and lack of food. Many of the hostages suffer from life threatening viral and bacterial infections like salmonella, hepatitis A, and pneumonia.


The slogan “Never Again,” seemed slightly archaic to modern American Jews before October 7th. Sure, we said it. But the idea that we Jews would ever be targeted like we were in Hitler’s Germany, was absurd to say the least. But like so many Shoah survivors told us, they too never imagined anything as barbaric as mass gassings, firing squads, and brutal torture and destruction could ever befall them.


Before the Nazi regime took over, Jews were wealthy pillars of society, cultural ambassadors, and high-level professionals. Just as they are today. And yet, it is happening again. The hate has been unleashed and so many of us feel threatened and deeply concerned for our future.



But this time, we are not becoming victims. This time, With the help of so many strong Jewish and non-Jewish voices in business, politics, academia, and entertainment, we are building a shelter of solidarity that will allow us to stand up to evil and hatred all over the world. We are not alone. And we will not be defeated.


Israel will defend herself. American Jews will support her. Whether we agree or disagree on exactly how these battles are fought, we know one thing for certain: if we are not for ourselves, then who will be for us?



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Debra Rich Gettleman is the contributing editor for Jewish Life Now, Arizona Jewish Life, and Oregon Jewish Life Magazines. She is an award-winning journalist, playwright, actor, and producer. Debra's company, Rich Reinventions works with business professionals to help them rebrand themselves for career mobility and transition.

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