Ashkenazi Jews Are Not White by Amy Schecter.

I can’t be European, I’m Brown. 

My diaspora experience does not reflect my origins. 

My whole life, I’ve had the burning question, “How come I’m ‘brown’ when both my twin sister and brother are as white as snow and burn under the sun in like 2.5 seconds”?

Well, within the past year or two, I learned why. It is because I am a Jew.

I am an Ashkenazi/ European Jew and dedicated gefilte fish connoisseur.

When just looking at me, my nationality is pretty ambiguous.

I went to a very multicultural high school and I was asked on so many different occasions, “what’s your nationality”?

I always told them I was European as my mom’s side of the family is Polish and Hungarian and my dad’s side is Russian. Their eyes would glaze over, they were confused. Let me just tell you, so was I.

When I was in the 7th grade, my twin sister and brother managed to convince my English teacher I was adopted.

Adoption is truly a beautiful thing, but let me tell you, I’m not adopted.

When my teacher approached me and said, “Amy, I didn’t know you were adopted”. I told her, “I didn’t know either, this is actually news for me too”.

My second year of Cegep, a teacher of mine demonized and delegitimized Israelis and called us “oppressors” and “settlers” of the land of Israel. The antisemitism hurt and I just knew, in my heart, it was wrong.

I had no way of defending my people because I didn’t have the facts to do so. Again, I didn’t go to a Jewish high school.

A new fire then burned within me, I told myself this will never happen again.

I started learning the facts and history of my people. Over a year ago I stumbled upon Rudy Rochman’s YouTube video “Judaism is not a religion”. He mostly taught me the content of this post.

So, for the first time, in my life, I figured out why I am brown.

During the Roman Empire, the Romans colonized the kingdom of Judea, which is present day Israel, in the Middle East, and they shipped our people all over the world, including Rome. My ancestors, in particular, were displaced to Ashkenaz, present day Germany.

 Two summers ago I took a family trip to Italy and Spain. In Rome, lots of the Roman art, seemed to have hidden Magen Davids (The Jewish Star of David) and menorahs.

In the Vatican, in the room of Heliodorus, there is the painting called, “The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple”. This fresco, painted by Raphael in 1511-1512, depicts  Heliodorus getting forced out of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

I also took took a picture of the Arch of Titus, next to the colosseum, in Rome. This arch honours Vespasian and Titus who sacked Jerusalem and our temple (70-71 CE).

I am brown, not because of a European diaspora experience, but because my ancestors come from the Middle East, the land of Judea, present day Israel🇮🇱

 Amy Schecter



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