Monday, January 25, 2016

Norway: "I've always seen myself as Jewish, but I began to deny it and hide it"

Via NRK (h/t SAW)

Michael Stark (24) says he was harassed in school.  He was called "fucking Jew" and told jokes like "It's so cold here, can we burn a Jew?".

When he started working he didn't tell anybody about his Jewish life.  "I didn't tell anybody about my religion.  I stayed away from it because I didn't want to be seen as Jewish."

Michael's mother is Jewish and his father is Catholic, and he grew up with both religions.

He didn't tell anybody at home about the harassment he experienced.  He identified as Jewish, but because of the situation in school he stopped participating in Jewish celebrations.  "I said that 'It's Mom that's Jewish, not me'.  I've always seen myself as Jewish, but I began to deny it and hide it."

It didn't help when he changed schools.  "there was always somebody who knew somebody who knew somebody from the previous school.  That way, it never ended.  I was always 'the Jewish boy'."

Michael says that he's now decided to be more open about his religion and where he comes from, and that he won't be embarrassed to celebrate Hanukka or wear a kippah.  He's received mostly positive comments.  One coworker, a Muslim, told him "You and I must work together. You are a Jew and I'm a Muslim, we must team up."

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