Labelsby Natalie Jacobs August 24, 2017
It’s hard to talk about myself right now, but I’ll need to eventually. As I write, a person in Barcelona has driven a van into a crowd along the famous tourist street La Rambla. I hesitate to call this person a terrorist because I’m growing ever more confused about what constitutes big-T Terrorism and what is just run-of-the-mill murder. The car-ramming in Barcelona happened less than a week after another murderous event involving a car and a lunatic, that time in Charlottesville, Virginia.
This person who drove his car directly and purposefully into a crowd of people in the United States was a white person – melanin-deficient and probably a Christian. But no one is talking about his religious affiliations or even his extremist ideologies for the most part. Instead of headlines screaming “Terrorist Attack in Charlottesville,” there are conversations about whether careful and measured investigations may reveal evidence that can support a charge of domestic terrorism. “Terrorist” headlines or none, people were terrified, are terrified that vile, ignorant, regressive views are being invited out of the caverns they have been repeatedly beaten back into since the civil rights era, the Second World War, the American Civil War and offered a place in the public square.
For the week between unrelated events in August, people were mostly talking about the American president’s own deficiencies, which go much deeper than the spray-painted pigment that smears his face. That conversation was good and somewhat refreshing especially as even anchors on Fox News for once had trouble coming to the man’s defense. But as details poured out of Barcelona, the headlines were dominated with “terrorist” this and “terrorism” that. Meanwhile the same U.S. president who waited three days to condemn the events in Charlottesville only to then two days later walk back that condemnation, issued a statement condemning the “terrorist attack” mere hours after it happened in Barcelona. Although his attorney general did eventually admit that the Charlottesville attack likely meets the legal requirements to earn a definition of “domestic terrorism” the lines are still too blurry to see.
As weird as it feels, I have to pivot from trying to comprehend this sick sad world for a moment to talk about myself. This issue is my last as Editor-in-Chief of the San Diego Jewish Journal. It has been incredible (and lately, heartbreaking) to watch and write about so many of the huge changes in the world of the last five years from my view at the Journal. Since taking over as editor, I’ve been constantly challenged to tell better, stronger, more powerful stories that keep the magazine relevant and relatable to the full spectrum of people who make up the community we cover. Thank you for taking me in and coming along as I explored the questions that I hoped would move you in some small way.
The October issue will usher in a new editorial crew, with Brie Stimson moving from the Assistant Editor’s desk into the Editor-in-Chief chair. For the most part you should expect to see the same writers, with maybe a few additions. Derek Berghaus will hold it down on the visuals and Mark Edelstein remains publisher extraordinaire.
As for September, it’s still our biggest issue of the year and fitting that it should be my last. For our High Holidays coverage we put out a call to the community to share with us favorite Holy Day traditions, most lasting memories, some advice on how to stay interested and engaged and strongest pieces of rabbinic wisdom remembered from services. What we received were intimate looks inside the lives and hearts of readers who were so kind to share with us their cherished stories. Find the quotes sprinkled throughout the listing of services.
Looping back to the ambiguity of labels these days, later in the magazine there’s a story from a new contributor who recently had to explore the boundaries of anti-Semitism after an uncomfortable comment was made at a journalism industry event.
Thank you again, and take care of each other.