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Confronting Antisemitism: Growing Up Jewish In Canada

A Personal Reflection on Discrimination and Fear in School

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Despite Canada’s reputation as a welcoming nation, the reality for Jewish individuals reveals a darker truth. Discrimination and prejudice persist, reminding us that true inclusivity requires constant vigilance and action. (Photo: Supplied)

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Living in Canada all my life, I’ve encountered discrimination from a young age simply because of my religion. It’s disheartening that even as a child, teachers made strange comments about my Jewish identity. While most kids enjoy a new school year without worry, for me and many Jewish peers, it’s marred by concerns about how we’ll be treated.

Reflecting on my experiences, I recall the first antisemitic incident in my early school years. Evacuating due to a bomb threat targeting our predominantly Jewish student body left a lasting impact. The fear instilled in us, mere children, lingered as we returned to school, haunted by the possibility of a real threat.

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At nine, a rally for Israel turned horrific when my father received rape threats directed at me and my mother. The trauma of such threats lingers, a constant shadow of fear. Yet, I choose to wear my Star of David proudly, despite the fear it can evoke.

In grade 4, a teacher’s inappropriate remark about Jewish singers and subsequent music class discomfort further emphasized our “otherness.” Another teacher’s offensive comments about Jews and inappropriate discussions on sensitive geopolitical issues only added to the distress.

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Even seemingly innocent interactions, like explaining a synagogue to a classmate, exposed underlying prejudices. Witnessing disgust at my explanation is a memory I can’t shake.

As I prepare for middle school, the fear of facing antisemitism alone looms large. It’s unfair that Jewish youth must navigate such hostility, both in physical and online spaces. Social media platforms, like TikTok, perpetuate hateful rhetoric, fueling further division and fear.

Despite Canada’s reputation as a welcoming nation, the reality for Jewish individuals reveals a darker truth. Discrimination and prejudice persist, reminding us that true inclusivity requires constant vigilance and action.

Sivan Vilenski East is a grade 6 student attending school in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Sivan is very interested in writing, politics, crafts and her Jewish identity.

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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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