Post-October 7th Reflections From a Hausner 8th Grader

Post-October 7th Reflections From a Hausner 8th Grader
Maya Mazin

Hausner eighth grader Maya Mazin shares her reflections on the events of October 7th, and how her Hausner education has prepared her for what lies ahead.

Shock. Anger. Fear.

These emotions have become an unwelcome theme in my life over the last 6 months. 

There are no words to describe how unbelievably challenging and heartbreaking the first weeks after October 7 were for the Jewish community. How can there be words to describe an unprecedented, bloody attack during which 1,163 people were brutally murdered and 250 were taken as hostage into the depths of Gaza?

When I learned about this conflict in Israel, I couldn’t help thinking what if my siblings had been there? What if my parents and I had gone to Israel in October? What if we had been visiting my family in Ashdod?

But during those first weeks, I would go up the stairs to my classrooms each day and know that, no matter what, I was not alone. I had my friends who were going through the same challenges as I was; I had caring teachers who were willing to have discussions and answer questions at any given time; and I had my school, which was already finding ways to support Israelis.

During those dark, fearful weeks, Hausner served as an example and inspiration for other Jewish schools, donating medical supplies and food, sending words of encouragement to kids that had been displaced, and even sending a delegation of 8th graders to the March on Washington. But, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to go to a Jewish school that was doing everything it possibly could to support its students until a few weeks ago, when I opened the news and the front page contained a picture of a poster with “The Final Solution” printed on it in large, red print.

6 months after the bloody sabbath of October 7, I am currently sitting in the safety of my house, listening to the birds chirp outside, while thousands of Jewish students are being bombarded with the noise of anti-Israel protestors who are storming their campuses. While I learn about Israel’s history and dance outside during Yom Haatzmaut, college students are traveling home and attending online classes because they fear for their lives. 

Once again I can’t help thinking that, if I had been born a few years earlier, I could have been stuck on a college campus. My brother, who graduated from Columbia University, could’ve been the target of an antisemetic attack. I am grateful that I have not been personally affected by these protests, but I worry that never again will students be able to go to university without being afraid to be Jewish. I yearn for what Israel used to be for me: a safe haven for Jews around the world, a beacon of light, a home. I can’t help thinking about if, and how, the next few years of my life will be impacted by anti-semitism.

But through all the turmoil that these last months have been, one thing has been astoundingly clear: I should not be afraid. I should never have to hide my Jewish identity - instead, I should be unapologetically Jewish and use these values to better our world.

Hausner has helped me to do just that. It has allowed students like me to find their voice by providing me with a caring, supportive community that will always be there to lift me up. I have been given the most important gift of all - knowledge - through the countless speakers that we have heard from, helping my classmates and I to debunk myths and face any future challenges. The support and community at Hausner during these last months has inspired me to apply to a Jewish leadership organization to continue speaking up against hatred. Because, as history has shown time and time again, the voices of the Jewish community can not, and will not, be silenced.

Seeing all of the terror and hatred in the world right now is terrifying. Not knowing when this conflict will end is scary, but not knowing if Jews will ever be accepted is even scarier. Currently, there are too many questions unanswered and voices silenced. But, that doesn’t mean that this is the end. This is only the end of the beginning, because for the first time in history, we have a strong connection between Israel and the diaspora. For the first time in history, we have so many allies from all around the world. For the first time in history, we are not fighting alone.

So, although it is hard to have faith, especially when this year has had so many “firsts,” (most of which bad), I think about Hausner’s graduating eighth-grade class. Thinking about these 22 kids, all of whom have such unique passions but all of whom are passionate about changing the world, I can’t help feeling hopeful. I know that just like my classmates have the power and knowledge to speak up against hatred, so do countless kids around the world who have been inspired by values like community responsibility and tzedek tzedek tirdof and are already speaking up against hatred. The Jewish education that I, and so many others, have gotten is the most powerful tool that we have to lift this curtain of anger and sadness that has enveloped our lives and make the world accept us for who we are: a proud, defiant people who deserve to thrive. I just hope that we will not let fear stop us, dictate us, and silence us.

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