An Open Letter To The President From A Jewish Mother

by Laura Russin

Dear Mr. President,

Over the past few months, hundreds of bomb threats have been called in to Jewish Community Centers (JCC) around the country. Yesterday, a bomb threat was called in to two such centers just miles from my home. My friends and I have children of preschool age, many of whom attend school programs at various temples across our county.

Frighteningly, these children participated in lockdown drills yesterday due to their schools’ proximities to the JCCs. Many had police presence within their schools for the remainder of the day and this morning, welcoming their children to school. These children are between the ages of 1 1/2 and 5. That’s right — toddlers and small children of the Jewish faith around my county are being escorted into school by police simply because of their religion. Their parents are frightened to send them to school. The children themselves are confused as to what is going on, and in turn, scared. Let me reiterate just how young these children are.

I watch you push to allow guns in places like schools. Why? Because you claim that you want to keep students safe, and this is how it will be done. I watch you make speech after speech about closing our borders. Why? Also, in your eyes, in an effort to keep the children and citizens of your country safe. You will no longer allow refugees into this country.

Families and children who are being killed daily, hourly, in the name of religion, and these same people are being deemed a threat by you and your cabinet. However, your silence with regards to what is happening in your own country is making my children and my family and friends’ children unsafe, failing to protect from fellow citizens born and raised right here on U.S. soil. This threat isn’t coming from any refugee or immigrant. It is coming from our neighbors. Yet you remain relatively silent.

You put a woman like Betsy DeVos in power because you promote the idea of a free and better education of a parent’s own choosing for our children. My friends send their children to these temple schools, yet are now considering removing them for their own safety. I ask you, is this your definition of providing an education of a parent’s own choice?

I want my children to learn their letters and numbers, shapes and colors, play and interpersonal skills, but I also want them to learn about their faith. These threats are making that impossible, and your stance, or lack of stance, on the issue is allowing this to continue. My choice is no longer where my child will get the best education; it is where they will get an education safely.

I have heard you make only one speech on this subject. You claimed that you are “the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life.” You pointed out that you had a daughter and a son-in-law of the Jewish faith, and three grandchildren. Are your grandchildren getting threatened every day? If so, how can you stand by and watch that? No, Mr. President, having Jewish family members by marriage does not make you not anti-Semitic; it just makes you another person who has Jewish relatives, plain and simple. I watched your press secretary, Sean Spicer, claim that it was ludicrous that the murder of two innocent Indian men in the name of hate could have anything to do with you and your rhetoric. Are you blind? Deaf? Ignorant?

You campaigned with the promise to “Make America Great Again,” to make it safe again. Is this what safety now looks like for my family? You spend so much time pointing out the threats from other countries that you have turned a blind eye to the increasingly severe threats right in our own backyard. You want to spend $45 billion to increase our defense fund. Why not spend that money on programs to teach the people of our country tolerance, love, and acceptance?

Fellow citizens filled with bigotry — and the number of those citizens is growing exponentially every day — need your guidance. They need you to denounce the killings, the prejudice, and the threats. They need to see that you are a man of peace, and love, not one who drives this country through hate. What kind of a leader are you if you can’t keep all of your citizens safe, not just those of religions you deem acceptable? Please, I beg you to do something about this, something meaningful, something drastic, something now.


A Jewish Mother