In this op-ed for Forward, Ilana Schachter, who is the campus rabbi at University of Pennsylvania, writes about attending the Women’s March in D.C. with a group of Muslim and Jewish students, sponsored by the Muslim Students Association and Penn Hillel, and pens that there has been a recent phenomenon uniting these students from different faiths – the Trump administration.
“Jewish and Muslim students, religious minorities who have historically struggled to connect because of disagreements on Israel, now are reminded of their shared vulnerability in Trump’s America. The president’s campaign promise to register Muslims and deport those who are suspicious evokes sharp memories for Jews, as have the comments on traditional Muslim dress like head-coverings.
Moreover, the rise of white supremacist sentiment and the prevalence of swastika graffiti across the country have revived fears of a new wave of anti-Semitism in America. However, it is not only mutual fear that brings together Muslims and Jews. More than fear, their recognition of intersectionality sparks new collaborations and cross-cultural exchange.
As a Hillel rabbi I have felt tensions between groups of different faith and race, and the quickness of students to focus on the things that separate groups rather than the issues that unite them… And yet, the post-election climate has produced a remarkable and rapid kinship among minority groups, the Women’s March being just the latest example.”