I was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1977, in the midst of the cold war era. Life was tough under the communist regime as a Russian Jew; my grandfather, Peter, served time in jail. His crime? Hiding money underneath the mattress to take care of his family.
By the time I was a year old, it was decided we needed to leave the Soviet Union as the cold war heightened. Israel was under constant battle, and thus it was decided we were coming to America. We left the former Soviet Union in 1978, leaving everything behind.
It took time to get clearance to come to the United States legally. Like other Russian Jewish Families, our journey began in Austria, followed by Italy before settling in Oak Park, MI, right outside Detroit in December of 1980.
New Year and Mixed Blessing
This week has served as a mixed blessing as we approach Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
Grateful our president recognizes Anti-Semitic incidents have increased since 2013, and students, in particular, continue to face anti-Semitic harassment in schools and on university and college campuses; On December 11, 2019, Trump recognized antisemitism was on the rise, and signed an executive order to combat antisemitism, making anti-semitism illegal under Title VI.
Grateful our president, Trump, has brokered an agreement to stabilize relations between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel — the first such agreement between Israel and a major Arab country since 1994. He presided over the signing ceremony at the White House on September 15. Until this agreement, those with an Israeli passport were not even allowed to travel to the UAE!
Republican Amendment to include antisemitism in the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act was passed despite 162 House Democratswho voted against it on 9/16/20.
On the flipside, the Guardian just reported that nearly two-thirds of young American adults do not know that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. More than one in 10 believe Jews caused the Holocaust, a new survey has found, revealing shocking levels of ignorance about the greatest crime of the 20th century; and sadly, this attitude of intolerance was brought to life this week with the 162 who voted against Jewish equality on 9/16/20.