I am half Jewish. I mean this in a literal sense — my mother is Jewish, my father is Catholic — and I mean it also figuratively. I am half Jewish; I’ve only ever approached my Judaism with one foot in the door, the other firmly rooted in a secular spirituality which questions the legitimacy of religious institution. My Judaism matters deeply, though, when it comes to matters of historical import. If I can learn anything from my religious faith, I can learn the story of the Jewish people and come to know adversity, ostracizing, and perseverance.

With this in mind, when I look out at a world in which refugees are turned away and members of a particular religion are cast into monolithic, dehumanizing categories, I call upon my Jewish faith to guide me to change what I see. Doing so has lead me to If Not Now, a grass-roots organization amplifying the voice of Jewish youth fighting for progressive, transformative initiatives. Moving forward, I’ll be following the growth of If Not Now as it continues to respond to and shape the contemporary social justice movement.

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?

If I am only for myself, what am I?

If not now, when?

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