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Op-Ed

My Grandfather’s America

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Elizabeth Pipko writes: “Today, we are living in a time where anti-Semitism has become mainstream. Where members of Congress make jokes and comments about Jews and their connection to money, or “Benjamins baby,” where popular celebrities make antisemitic comments and don’t have to apologize for them, and when one of the most popular newspapers in the world thinks it’s alright to publish a cartoon depicting a Jew and Israeli as a dog on a leash.”

By: Elizabeth Pipko

A group of Poway residents bring flowers and cards to a memorial outside of the Chabad of Poway synagogue, Sunday, April 28, 2019, in Poway, Calif. Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, was killed by a 19-year old nursing student when she attempted to protect Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein from being shot. Photo Credit: kpbs.org

As I walked up to the stage to give my speech at Turning Point USA’s Young Jewish Leadership Summit earlier this week, I could only think about one thing. My grandfather’s voice was rushing through my head, almost more clearly than if he had been right there next to me; then again maybe he was.

My grandfather was the proudest Jew I had ever known. He fought with all that he had for his faith in every aspect of his life and taught me to do the same. Growing up I always wondered what he meant when he told me to “fight for my people.” I grew up in New York City, attending synagogue regularly, and loving every minute I spent in my religious Jewish school. I had no idea what it meant to fight to be a Jew. In fact, I had no idea what it meant to fight for anything.

My grandparents believed in sharing history. I was told about the holocaust regularly, and retold and retold.

Police in Brooklyn are investigating a pair of separate seemingly random unprovoked anti-Semitic attacks in the same neighborhood and they’re hoping surveillance video will lead to arrests in both incidents. Photo Credit: antisemitism.org.il

As a child, thinking about the holocaust kept me up at night. My grandmother often showed me photos of concentration camps and told me stories of Jews who managed to keep their faith even in a time when it seemed impossible. This may have been just a few years ago, but clearly much has changed in such a short amount of time. The term “concentration camp” was one I was never even comfortable saying out loud. The murder of six million Jews was something I couldn’t fathom or begin to understand. This was a time when the term “concentration camp” was not thrown around for political reasons or dramatic effect, clearly a lot has changed.

I often wonder what my grandfather would be feeling and doing if he was alive today; witnessing the anti-Semitism sweeping the country which he loved so much. The country that he risked his life to escape to.

Today, we are living in a time where anti-Semitism has become mainstream. Where members of Congress make jokes and comments about Jews and their connection to money, or “Benjamins baby,” where popular celebrities make antisemitic comments and don’t have to apologize for them, and when one of the most popular newspapers in the world thinks it’s alright to publish a cartoon depicting a Jew and Israeli as a dog on a leash.

This surveillance photo shows an unidentified teenager attacking a Jewish man in a Brooklyn neighborhood. (Courtesy of CrownHeights.info)

We have entered a time where synagogues now must be protected by armed guards. And as grateful as I am by the support and protection we are able to receive in America, I am terrified for the direction that we are heading in. Some days I just sit and wonder what I can do.

In these times I think to what my grandfather would tell me, I know if he was here today, he’d tell me to fight. To fight for my people and what we have been through, to fight for the country that made my freedom possible, and to fight for the young Jewish children that deserve to be brought into a world where antisemitism isn’t accepted or defended.

My grandfather often told me how important it was to stand up for what mattered, even if it meant standing alone. That is why I founded The Exodus Movement. My organization is focused on supporting Jewish Americans, fighting anti-Semitism wherever it appears, and defending Israel and its right to exist. Jewish Americans deserve more than to be taken for granted by people that continuously prove that they don’t support them, and in a time where antisemitism is clearly on the rise, I will make it my mission to make sure that Jewish Americans are never taken for granted again.

Elizabeth Pipko is a former model and 2016 Trump campaign staffer from New York City. Elizabeth is currently the founder and president of The Exodus Movement, committed to fighting the rising anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism of the far left as well as promoting the importance for support of the State of Israel.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Esther Radzyner

    07/17/2019 at 7:59 pm

    May Hashem grant you continued success in your mission.

  2. Zev Lewinson

    07/17/2019 at 11:09 pm

    I think Yad Vashem should go on the road. I’m in Jerusalem now, and as much as I already knew about The Holocaust (being the son of a survivor of Dachau), I was still left speechless, emotionally drained, and incredibly impressed at the sensitivity and wisdom expressed by the exhibit. Haters and Nazis will never change. But there are millions of misled ignorant people who really don’t know the truth. And the liberal media is a horrific place to get an education.

    Kudos to our gorgeous and intelligent babe. 😍 She is a true Kiddush Hashem. God bless her and protect her. 🙏

  3. lee smith

    07/18/2019 at 2:30 am

    A lot of good points are raised re the rising antisemitism of the left — but the antisemitism of the right is almost completely ignored. Am I being too cynical to view this as a ploy to build support for Republicans. Lets have an objective evaluation of the state of antisemitism on all sides, left, right, Islamist, and then we can band together to fight it — both Democrat and Republicans with a shared love of Judaism and Israel, independent of our political affiliation.

    • David Hunt

      08/02/2019 at 12:56 pm

      There are many flavors of anti-Semitism; you can’t just lump them under one label and hope to effectively fight it.

      As to, specifically, the alt-Right version of it… do you know what’s fueling it? Jewish activism to push immigration and migration. Their ire didn’t spring out of nowhere, but people like Soros and Barbara Spectre – and many other prominent Jews – openly pushing for population replacement.

  4. thomas pierre

    07/18/2019 at 1:07 pm

    i am of the craft , wiccan , of the old ways . the children of Abraham have not been kind to those of ‘we , the shadows ‘ … but my aunt , who brought me into the craft , told me of the history of the shadows , and that ” you stand with the jew , or stand in the darkness ” . we have common enemy’s and share the history of the holocaust and inquisition , persuasion , and american tolerance . with the great difference being , our greater numbers still do not trust that anything has changed . not really . when the pendulum of time swings once more …. we who hide in the shadows will still survive …. know one truth , those who follow the path of old way of the craft …. we stand with you , who they call the gypsy when they call us at all .

  5. Rabbi Yael Hirsch

    07/26/2019 at 1:53 am

    What about the antisemites on the right, Ms. Pipko? You know, the neo-Nazis who went to Charlottesville and chanted “Jews will not replace us”? The ones who President Trump called “very fine people”? What about them?

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