A friend's family recently moved to Germany. Right before her move, we discussed how she is not planning on hiding her family's Jewishness away: her kids will wear tzitzis out, and kipas without baseball caps. I sort of counseled her on being careful, asking around, finding out what the local Orthodox Jews do. "We are what we are", she said, "and we will not hide it."
This was all just a few short months ago.
How the world had changed!
|My oldest on Daddy's shoulders|
|Over 2000 people gathered to support Israel|
Before you think that I overreact, I will cite the instances in Paris and Berlin from the past month where just being Jewish was enough incitement for violent anti-Semitic acts. Too far from home? I will cite Chicago and New York this past week. So I believe that there is a reason to worry.
Yet, just as these thoughts were occurring, another thought was running through my mind: don't I have freedom of speech and freedom of expression? Am I not entitled to my views? Am I not entitled to make a point on my car, just as millions of Americans do with their bumper stickers? I am not infringing on anyone else, I am not doing anything illegal by displaying this very pro-Israel sign. Will I not be protected by the law? Why am I finding myself in a position of fear? Are we not living in a democracy?
So what's the worst that will happen? Somebody will put a rock through my windshield and I will have to call the cops. Somebody might stand by my car, itching for an altercation. Somebody might start up with me. I will handle it. And then it might be time to start packing bags for the only place where people drive around waving Israeli flags without worrying what others think of them.