My Jewish Identity Isn’t Based on Victimhood

Orrin Konheim
Dialogue & Discourse

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Photo by Taylor Brandon on Unsplash

As a child in my religious school, I would be taught Jewish history with a certain bent. Our Hebrew school teacher would enthusiastically say, “Those guys (the Romans, the Syrians, the Babylonians, etc.) are gone but we’re still here!” Though likely not historically accurate (the people are still here, even if the political structures aren’t), it’s a fine way of instilling Jewish pride.

It reminds me of the old saying that history is written by the victors. Lately, however, I feel like in this latest era of identity politics, history can be used by the victims — often a racial or ethnic group — to write a narrative of what’s owed to them.

Last December (I am writing this in 2024) after the attacks that had just happened in Israel, I went to a Chanukah lighting ceremony on the National Mall and one of the key Rabbinical authorities in the U.S. kept mentioning in his speech how much we were hated and how real the threats to us are. These themes were echoed with the second gentleman of the United States, Doug Enhoff, and a certain Jewish Instagram influencer who was also on the speaking program.

This was not unexpected in the wake of such horrific after such a monumental event. However, the narrative was laced with the implication that we are a marginalized group of people. The fact that the annual Channukah lighting…

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Orrin Konheim
Dialogue & Discourse

Freelance journalist w/professional bylines in 3 dozen publications, writing coach, google me. Patreon: http://www.patreon/com/okjournalist Twitter: okonh0wp