Uncomfortable by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

For the past two weeks, I’ve lived in a tiny dorm room at Pembroke College on the University of Oxford campus. There was no air conditioning and I slept on a single bed with only a box spring. The room’s windows were street-side so I’d hear students having a good time until early in the morning. It was, to say the least, uncomfortable.

However, the subject matter that I studied this past week at the ISGAP Antisemitism Institute was also uncomfortable, and sashaying into a classroom after spending a luxurious night in a five-star hotel would not seem apropos. It would not be appropriate when you are learning about the longtime false accusations against the Jewish people—accusations of blood libel, world and financial domination.

Over the years the Jewish people have been demonized in verbiage and cartoons, and many conspiracy theorists believe they alone are responsible for global problems like the COVID outbreak. In addition, antisemitism is on the rise in this country with more incidents than ever before on college campuses. Students are being removed from positions of leadership at schools. They are afraid to admit they are Jewish. Young people should be able to look forward to college, not fear the experience.

This is uncomfortable, and also personal, since I had a Jewish father and proudly claim those roots.

While at the institute, I could feel the woundedness of my Jewish brothers and sisters from years of Christian persecution. Many had relatives who perished in the Hitler-led Holocaust, a genocidal plan outlined by church father Martin Luther in his book, On the Jews and their Lies. As a representative of both Jewish and Christian heritage, I found myself apologizing for what has occurred over the years. I told my new friends that I am sorry, and assured them I am on their side.

As I return home after graduating from this institute, I am exhausted, but my resolve is greater than ever to turn back this hurricane of hatred through our documentary work. I want Christians to understand that God calls us to bless Israel, and not curse our Jewish brothers and sisters. We should not believe the propaganda that has been disseminated in a political effort to discredit Jewish people. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves, so we must change the antisemitic narrative through our actions and words.

So if you are uncomfortable after reading this blog, that was the intent. Let’s remain in this discomfort and do something to turn back antisemitism—before it’s too late.

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  1. Thank you for sharing this experience, Lisa! We will continue to lift you up as you continue to defend our Jewish brothers and sisters and lift up Jesus.

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