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The Jew Camp Joke — My Experience With Antisemitism

In today’s day and age, a lot of antisemitism still exists; some people just don’t like to recognize it. There are little bits of microaggressions towards Jews that people don’t talk about or don’t realize they’re doing. This is a poem about my personal experience with these microaggressions.

Warning: slur(s) ahead

 

For the past 4 years, I’ve been going to Jew camp over the summer.

Jew camp, yeah.

It’s actually a fine arts camp that happens to be for Jewish kids, but no one really seems interested in much past the joke of it all.

The Jew camp joke.

 

Being a Jew has its ups and downs.

Ups include being in a super elite group of people, eating awesome food, and taking pride in knowing that no matter how many people have tried to kill us over the past thousands of years, we’re still here!

And downs include… Well. I’m sure you can guess.

 

When I was younger, I assumed I was one of the lucky ones. I still kind of do.

My mom used to tell me stories of growing up in Alabama, being the only Jewish kid.

On her first day of school, a little girl put her hands on my mom’s head and pulled her hair.

She was confused because she couldn’t find horns.

 

Growing up surrounded by Goyim, which are basically muggles of the Jewish world,

Managed to make me feel more excluded from my religion than other Jews did.

Elementary school kids used to tell me that since my grandparents grew up in America and didn’t experience the Holocaust, I wasn’t a real Jew.

 

Fast forward to 2017, when Richard Spencer got punched in the face on camera.

I don’t usually condone violence, but I was pretty okay with that.

Plenty of other people seemed to be too…

When the cameras were on.

Honestly, opposition to Nazis from white goyim seems really performative.

 

They can talk about punching them all they want,

 

But when they hear that Jewish culture has negative terms for non-Jews, they spit the word “kike” back at me.

 

They don’t mention how my friend whose school is in a JCC got evacuated because of a bomb threat and that those are happening across the country every day.

 

How last month I walked into the D.C. Holocaust museum and was not struck by fear because of the Nazi propaganda,

But because of the actual Nazi wearing a “make America great again” sweatshirt who was following behind me with a swastika tattoo.

 

How months before the 2016 election, I watched on my television as a group of people raised their hands to “hiel” our president

 

How the fact that I spend a week surrounded by other Jewish artists every summer is grounds for a holocaust joke.

 

And when I try to explain to them that the holocaust wasn’t the first or even biggest genocide of Jews in history,

They think I’m lying.

 

It’s not like I was there, right?

How would I know?

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Poet, musician, LGBT+, dog enthusiast, among other things

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