January 1, 2019Thedreidel
It was just nine months ago that we first brought The Dreidel online. The dream of a father whose son had just been bar-Mitzvah’d, a rabbi whose congregation included media giants and artists, and an advocate for the care of impoverished Holocaust survivors – The Dreidel filled a void that they recognized had to be filled. There was no social media platform whose focus was on instilling a Jewish identity to teens while preparing them for the harsh realities and incredible blessings of ‘growing up Jewish’.
We kicked off with a revealing interview with Jewish hip-hop star Matisyahu. His remembrances of growing up in New York, being bullied by the ‘Scarsdale Girls’, and his spiritual awakening that happened in Israel was a story that many of us could relate to. Israel was and remains the nexus of our socialization, spirituality and identity. Our voices united in supporting Israel, and most importantly, connecting and re-connecting us to Israel. Recognizing the politics of derision and dislocation, The Dreidel tried to rise above that conversation and instead focus on identifying what the real threats were. We took on the BDS Movement (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) that is eating away at the fibre of colleges and universities. We recognized this movement as a thinly veiled symptom of anti-Semitism and religious intolerance.
We were unapologetic in demanding that those who were complicit in the practice of anti-Semitism – whether it materialized as swastikas spray-painted on Jewish gravestones and markers in Jewish cemeteries, shouted on the streets of Charlottesville by Neo-Nazis claiming ‘Jews Will Not Replace Us’, or delivered in subliminal messaging by college professors – were exposed and brought to the justice that social media enables. We told the story of Milan Chatterjee, a Hindu student who stood up against Students for Justice in Palestine. We rallied our numbers to oppose legislation that would cut off funding for inner city school children’s field trips to Holocaust museums.
There is no better weapon in the fight against anti-Semitism than the relationship that is forged between a young African American, Latino, Asian American or other inner city child and a Holocaust survivor, during these tours. Through the voices of the Shoah, we find relevance in the challenges that we, as Jews, face today.
As a teenager, the fight for your attention is waged online by some very heavy dudes. Hate mongers whose voice is wrapped in the excitement of online games, the trolling of unsuspecting teens where misinformation is delivered like a school lunch, and Facebook memes designed to incite and inspire ignorance try to swerve us around the truth.
But we know what the truth is, and we must always be about that truth. Most importantly, we must use our voices – collectively and individually, to fight anti-Semitism and to protect Israel. It is not enough for Israel to just survive. Israel must thrive.
Are you with us? We know you are, and we plan to continue to provide a platform for your voice. We will deliver the information in news, entertainment, health, food, fun and education. It’s up to you to use your voice to translate that truth to your friends and to your community. Help us grow by encouraging your friends, especially teenagers, to register and be a part of our growing movement. 2019 is the year of your voice, and we can’t wait to hear it. We wish you health, happiness and awareness in 2019!
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