Opinion: Being Jewish at Gettysburg College

By Hannah Repole

Recent events on campus in regards to antisemitism have led me to address this issue with my Jewish community and to inform the rest of Gettysburg college community of our concerns. Though these events are in mind because of timely relevancy, they are not outliers. Repeated acts of antisemitism have plagued me and my Jewish peers. The disrespect and acts of antisemitism against the Jewish community on this campus is appalling. It is of utmost priority to me and to my fellow Jewish peers that a change is made for our safety.

Why am I constantly fighting for my right to be Jewish? I explain, and I over explain, until my words have no meaning. It is all numb. I feel desensitized to the world around me, this antisemitic world around me. My words are heard, yet no one sees it as an issue. Jews are never included in activism. We are forgotten and left behind. But it is inscribed in my ancestor’s arms and in my mind that we shall never forget. Once we forget we repeat. We will never forget. My religion is not meant to be forgotten. My religion should not be a punchline to a joke. My people should not be made fun of for the way we dress or the foods we eat. I have waited my turn. I have been patient, and I have been respectful. When does respect get returned? 

The antisemitism on campus is appalling, and I can no longer sit in silence, suffering. My people have done that for far too long. I am disgusted by my teacher’s lack of understanding of Jewish holidays. I ask you, teachers, would you give a quiz or exam on Christmas or Easter? 

I am sick and tired of fighting for my right to exist and practice as a Jewish lesbian woman on this campus. Being Jewish on this campus feels like having a target on my back that I can never shake. At this moment, we feel alone in our battle; we feel like we are left to rot as our peers build an orchard. I am no longer sad or angry; I am numb. I do not feel the pain anymore. I need support. I crave support. We need to start an open dialogue; and start taking every and any antisemetic comments more seriously. But it is lacking at this college in regard to resources for antisemitism and Jewish students on campus. 

I ran to be the treasurer of the student senate so I could advocate for clubs on campus to have a safe space to express themselves. I stand with my Jewish community.  

We have expressed our concerns and had meetings, but our cries and worries are not heard. We have no place to call safe. We hear apologies, yet no changes. These acts of antisemitism need to be taken seriously. There needs to be an open conversation between the College and students in order to correct these issues, both in protection and education. There is a group of students on this campus which do not even feel safe in their own home. A home meant for Jewish people on this campus. A home that was under attack and was not dealt with in a serious fashion, a home that is, at this moment, just starting to feel like a community. Enough is enough. We need change, and we need it now. 

I am Jewish, and I am proud. But as a Jewish person on this campus, I do not feel safe

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Author: Gettysburgian Staff

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  1. So well stated Hannah! This issue is so important and has been prevelant since my first year. Thank you for speaking up!

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  2. This is heartbreaking to read and I stand in solidarity with the Jewish community on our campus. I am committed to working on this issue in my personal capacity and as co-chair of the Student Senate Safety Committee. I am grateful to the author for penning and sharing this raw and honest opinion piece and for reminding us that Antisemitism is an issue far too close to home.

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  3. Examples of the antisemitism you experienced should have been included. Having an exam on a Jewish holiday is nothing you couldn’t have spoken to the Prof about. They may just not know it was a Jewish holiday!

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  4. Jews are 1.8% of the US, so professors shouldn’t give tests or quizzes on Jewish holidays.

    I get it.

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  5. Anti-semitism is appalling, cannot be tolerated. What specific acts, when? Is transfer the answer? Have you provided to administration the specifics? Do it.

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  6. Would appreciate all comments

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