Introduction xvii morphing reality that reconstitutes itself to prey on the weak points and gaps in any society. In the United States of the 2000s, it has diversified, manifesting on the political Left and Right, and adapting to various sub- sets of a multifaceted society. Zeke, a high school sophomore from the Washington, DC, suburbs, reflected on the antisemitism that he and his peers are encountering in their schools, on social media, and in the United States as a whole. “We have antisemitism on the Left, like the BDS18 movement. And while Gen- eration Z is fighting with the Left on antisemitism, the Right is looming in the corner. They’re the reason we have guards outside of our synagogues and why there’s bulletproof glass funded by the government on the win- dows of my school.” In this book, we will explore what it means to come of age as a Jewish young adult in an era marked by increasing antisemi- tism. We will meet the individuals who exist at the intersection of increased Jewish pride, elevated levels of fear, and unprecedented access to different voices through social media. Through the eyes of these Jewish Generation Zers, we will see how identities are shaped in response to and in defiance of antisemitism and what the diverse voices of American Jews are saying in response to this new reality. We will also place antisemitism into the context of the other trends impacting American society and how the Jew- ish experience factors into the national lexicon. Nora, the college student from Connecticut, noted that in her experience, the way that antisemitism is responded to can feel similar to how society reacts to sexual harassment. “It’s allowed to continue in a really bizarre way, even though we know it’s wrong. People and organizations aren’t interested in taking the steps they would need to in order to really change things.” As a Jewish community, and as a larger American community, a great deal of emphasis is placed on education regarding how to respond to anti- semitic acts and sentiments. Jewish teens and emerging adults are regu- larly offered the chance to participate in seminars and leadership training programs centered around standing up, speaking out, and determining tactics for responding to targeted hate. But there is a distinct lack of proac- tive work toward systemic change. Collectively, we have not done a great deal to educate the perpetrators of antisemitism on how to change. As an educator, I have spent a great deal of time thinking about what success means for me as I share knowledge, experiences, and meaning- making opportunities with my learners. There are plenty of easy answers— I’m successful if they find meaning in my words and the lessons I guide them through, and if the experience is fun, and if when they think back on
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