Why Gen Z Should Get Involved in the Fight Against Anti-Semitism

September 23, 2020


By Zack Singerman (Founder, Gen Z Jews)

A little more than six months ago, we didn’t expect this — a global pandemic. We didn’t think about virtual school, hoarding toilet paper, or wearing masks. We were completely unprepared. Of course, the experts told us for years that a pandemic was coming.  It wasn’t if but when. 

A similar analogy can be made about anti-Semitism. Two years ago, we did not expect a dramatic increase in anti-Semitism. We were shocked and devastated with the Tree of Life shooting. Then Poway. Then the attack in Monsey and the shooting at the kosher grocery store in New Jersey. And the eviction signs on campus dorm room doors. And the bullying of a USC student to step down from a leadership position in student government. This was not expected. American Jews were unprepared.

But given the history of the Jewish people, we should have been thinking not if anti-semitism returns but when. Since World War II, American Jews have had a good situation in the United States. As a result, we are unprepared for this increase in anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism was not part of our daily lives. Many Jews study the Holocaust and say “never again.” But we never really thought anti-Semitism was going to increase again.

Now, many American Jews realize anti-Semitism is on the rise, and we have begun to talk about it at the dinner table or with friends. Yet, we don’t know what to say when confronted by anti-semitism. We are caught off-guard. This needs to change. Gen Z — my generation — needs to get educated on the subject and be a leader.

In a way, I had a head start. My grandma attends the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. She was not at services that day.  But, she lost a friend and another close family friend was shot. This is when I realized that Gen Z cannot sit on the sidelines. We need to be prepared for it when we go to college. We need to be leaders. That is why I founded Gen Z Jews: Fighting Anti-Semitism.

My goal is to learn about anti-semitism and have other Gen Z Jews learn as well. You can constantly keep saying that anti-Semitism is increasing, but that does not fix the problem.. You have to work to prevent and stop it.

I organized a Gen Z Jews summit with Bari Weiss, author of “How to Fight Anti-Semitism” because I wanted to learn about anti-semitism. During the last six months, I did not stop learning. I have virtually met with those on the frontlines fighting anti-semitism and others who are examples of leaders including Congressmen, a Rabbi, and an Olympic athlete.  (You can check my interviews out on my YouTube channel).

What I have learned is that there are a lot the root causes of anti-Semitism and different ways to respond. Gen Z — we have a lot of work to do and we need to get involved now. We cannot ignore the warning signs any longer.

Please join us, the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement, and Bari Weiss on September 29th at 7 PM  to start learning what you can do about anti-Semitism.  It’s the first step in being prepared.

Register for the Gen Z Summit on Anti-Semitism here: https://bit.ly/2RQmO6z

Learn more about Gen Z Jews: https://www.genzjews.com/

Category: Contributor Op-Eds