Second grade, “Are you Christmas or Hanukkah”, I’m Hanukkah but I know the other kids will think I’m weird, I am afraid.

Fifth grade, my parents tell me about the Holocaust, how could people kill my family like that? I am afraid.

Sixth grade, I walk into my English class and the class erupts in happy birthday, to who? Hitler. Heil Hitler salutes scatter the room. My teacher? She does nothing. I am afraid.

Seventh grade, people call me “That Jewish Girl” derogatorily because I went to the news about what had happened in my English class because my school administration did nothing. I am afraid.

Eighth grade, my class goes to the Holocaust museum, kids laugh and joke and point, and me? I cry. I am afraid.

Ninth grade, I go to Israel and post pictures on my instagram of me with family, I get called a baby killer and told to free Palestine in my comments, I am fourteen, I am afraid.

Tenth grade, graphics are spread around comparing Trump’s presidency to the Holocaust. I ask someone who I thought was my friend to take down the graphic because the comparison made me uncomfortable and was inherently antisemitic. They talk about me in a group chat, call me names and belittle my Jewish heritage. I am afraid.

Eleventh grade, a friend tells me “I cannot support Israel just because my family lives there.” “All Israelis are inherently genocidal.” I am ashamed, I am afraid.

Senior year, I go to Israel, I hide in a bomb shelter fearing for my life as Jihad aims bombs at the city my family has lived in for 40+ years. I am afraid.

Freshman year of college, I am in a humanities class at my university. We touch on the crisis going on with Hamas, a student in the class says that the rape and murder of Israelis are reparations for Palestine. I raise my hand to comment and say, Hamas wants to kill Jewish people and doesn’t care if Palestinian civilians are caught in the crossfire. He interrupts me and yells at me. I say through tears, I just pray for peace for all of my Palestinian and Israeli siblings.  I am afraid.

Today I take my גבריאלה necklace off and my magen david, I put them away, I delete Instagram.

I am afraid.

Article by Author/s
Gabriella Iaroslavitz
Gabriella Iaroslavitz is a 19 year old college student who is half Israeli and fully Jewish with Israeli citizenship.She has been heavily involved with the Union for Reformed Judaism’s youth movement and summer camps. She has worked with the Anti-Defamation League on projects from as young as middle school.


  1. Ellie Green Reply

    Would the author share this more widely? (anonymously). The wider world needs to hear this message.

    • Thanks, Ellie. You are welcome to share this article. You can do this through our socials. If you go to the facebook or instagram icons below you will find the article posted and can share to your friends. Eds.

  2. Gabriella Iaroslavitz is a passionate young person and I admire her work with-defamation league. I don’t want you to be afraid, but I understand. I am too, but we must go and oppose the crime of humanity.
    You people like you are an inspiration to me.

  3. Nadene Alhadeff Reply

    So beautifully articulated. And made me SO SO sad but know that we will be strong and overcome …
    It’s important to be among people who understand and care and find strength to continue to do good in this world.
    Sending love and strength.

  4. Thank you for writing this, Gabriella! I put my mother’s Magen David on a gold necklace together with my grandmother’s Zion/Magen David locket, and started to put the necklace on when I go out. Let them see it. But I understand your hesitation; you bear the brunt of this resurgent Anti-Semitism. I’m 73, Israeli-American, and in you I see what my parents experienced in Europe when they were children and teenagers.

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