The epidemic of hate that Doug Emhoff referenced yesterday at a White House roundtable on antisemitism has hit close to home for me.
That vile virus has infected my house. Hate dwells inside.
Two weeks ago when I was called a “kike” on this site it was disturbing but it lived online.
A few days ago, it happened where I live.
A Trump-loving neighbor began making hostile gestures toward my husband without any provocation. It began with this man throwing things at Hershel through his car window when he spotted him outside.
The next day, as my husband was walking my dog Stanley, he looked up and the neighbor, his large body framed by the floor-to-ceiling Trump poster that hangs on his wall, standing at his open window staring out menacingly.
A surly, hulk of a guy, with a chip on his shoulder the size of his beer belly he was glaring right at Hersh. Sneering, he gave him the finger shouting “Fucking Jew!” Refusing to engage, Hersh chose to ignore it, but the incident hit me to the core.
This was not a neighbor who lives down the block.
Or next door.
He lives in my house. Above me.
The large, lovely Victorian home I live in is divided into two separate residences. He, his wife, and his adult son live on the top floor above us.
We share a common wall, but that is all we have in common. Our interactions are minimal if nonexistent. I smile at him if I see him on the driveway but it is never returned. Hersh has never spoken a single word to him, avoiding him at all costs.
Anger radiates from him.
Now I hear his heavy feet stomping across the floor above me, and it rattles me as much as it rattles my grandmother’s crystal in the china cabinet.
Hate is hiding in plain sight and there is no place for me to hide.
“Let me be clear- words matter. People are no longer saying the quiet parts out loud, they are screaming them,” Emhoff said. We cannot normalize this.”
These words are not new. Hate is not new. But they have become normalized and all too common.
Today I am filled with hate at all this hate in our country. I hate that hate now dwells in my house.
I hate that my Holocaust survivor husband’s life is now bookended by the vileness of antisemitism.
I hate that because he was a Jew he was born homeless in a field because there was no home to go back to once WWII was over.
I hate thinking that his parents thought they left anti-Semitism when they crossed the ocean to come to America and that the overt hate they experienced was in the past.
I hate that the past is now present.
I hate that Hersh had to hear the chanting “Jews will not replace us.” I hate that he heard his wife being called a “kike.” I hate that he was called unthinkable words in his home, our sanctuary.
I hate hating.
As much as I hate hate.