Rebecca Bauer-Kahan Delivers Emotional Speech Against Antisemitism

At Here I Am, an event from the JCRC at Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, California, State Assemblymember delivered an emotional speech in support of the Bay Area’s Jewish communities and against antisemitism.

Bauer-Kahan told a story about speaking with her grandmother, who shared her concerns about the rise of hate in America:

It was early 2017 when my grandmother and I were on the phone, our weekly call. She was 97. And she says to me, “Oh, I forgot to ask you something. When does your passport expire?” That’s a weird thing for my grandma to ask me. And she said, “I need you to go right now. I want you to tell me when your passport expires.” She said with serious urgency. So I go, “Okay, Grandma. Hold on.” And I find it and I look and it was within the year. And she said, “I need you to do this. I need you to get a new passport.” And I said, “Grandma, I don’t understand. I’m on it. Don’t worry.” She knew me well enough to know that she’d have to bug me several more times, but when I said to her why she was asking me that, she said, “I came to this country in 1939. I’ve never been afraid until now”.

Visibly emotional, Bauer-Kahan explained how her grandmother had fled oppression as a result of the Holocaust and had always felt safe in America. With the recent rise in antisemitism in the Bay Area and beyond, though, she once again felt unsafe as a result of her Jewish faith.

Rise of Antisemitism

According to the JCRC, antisemitic hate crimes increased in California by 24.3 percent from 152 incidents in 2021 to 189 in 2022.

Bauer-Kahan went on to condemn antisemitism in the Bay Area, and to urge others in the Jewish community and beyond to stand up against antisemitic incidents.

Specifically, Bauer-Kahan spoke about the normalization of antisemitic speech online, and the need for all communities to speak out against this normalization.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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