By Jeryl Marcus

I feel the shadowy undercurrent of a disease that won’t completely disappear  – because there is no inoculation for hate. 

Jeryl Marcus

Back in prewar Europe, it was no secret. Anyone having so much as a drop of Jewish blood was considered less-deserving than the German shepherd dogs that the SS ruined as puppies: taught to kill. They were meaner than the angry dog that protects his food source or his family.

If humans have the power to turn animals into savages, then we can also turn ourselves against one another at will. Wildlife in solitude live in a balance in which survival is key. Nothing more.

Post-war PTSD runs deep, even in those who weren’t yet born when the Holocaust happened. That’s understandable considering that all of European Jewry is ultimately connected. If you track it down there is a chromosomal connection somewhere down the line. 

That means that each one of us lost 6 million relatives in the Holocaust. No wonder we’re still having post-traumatic-related issues. We’re survivors, still surviving the trauma generations later. 

And we mourn as well, for a community of beauty. Of liturgy and books. A religion that makes up a great, beautiful piece of the global world – filled with culture, stories and tradition. 

It may be that we are complacent about victimhood, given our history of suffering. With nowhere to go we moved from place to place. The wandering Jew who learned to live on the land and among strangers. The wandering Jew who continued to practice their religion amidst the obstacles presented by the Sinai; who was adaptable, good at fitting-in and of making a go of it; and who didn’t have to imagine how frightening it feels to be without water, lost and alone in the shadeless desert. 

Because they knew.

Is it time to pack up once again? 

We are all travelers from way back. We fled servitude in Egypt to muck around in the desert, until at last our ancestors found a place to set down the holy ark. 

Until they had to move on again.

If you count the pogroms of Russia and Poland, the Inquisition in Spain, Purim’s Haman, Hanukah’s Antiochus, and the other times in which we were violently sent on our way, it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve had to pack up our things.

Lady Liberty is just a tease. There are no open arms awaiting the stranger. Instead we have religious and ethnic intolerance, voter suppression, mistrust of the media, rampant propaganda. We had a violent attempted coup by terrorists on Jan. 6, 2023, in our nation’s capital. 

We are the land of legitimized bigotry, racism and misogyny. 

The signs are out there. There’s a dictator/criminal and former president who wants to return to serve in our nation’s highest office. Did you know that Hitler was jailed briefly in 1923, after which he staged a hero’s comeback to lead the Nazi regime to “glory?”

When the rumbling of the earthquake that is hate grows stronger, will we ignore it?

In God we continue to trust – for better or worse. Because when we pinned our hopes on our most powerful leaders, they failed us.

Should we stay or should we go? Dare I say it? Can we trust our neighbors? I’m watching and waiting, hoping that we are not playing the roulette of history.

On the other hand, if the stars align and heaven and earth come together, perhaps our children and grandchildren will be free of the yolk of victimhood forever. 

Jeryl Marcus of El Paso is a writer, video editor and co-founder of Join Us For Justice, the El Paso Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.