As a teenager living in Los Angeles—home to a very large Jewish community—one might think that I live in a bubble. A bubble free from antisemitism. However, this could not be further from the truth.

Recently, Los Angeles has been experiencing a wave of antisemitism. These attacks have ranged from displays of antisemitic propaganda to physical violence perpetrated against Jewish individuals. And while these incidents are often ignored by those outside the Jewish community, they have caused great uneasiness for Jews in Los Angeles.

Online, my Instagram feed is flooded with various attacks on Jews. In person, I have witnessed hateful individuals placing antisemitic flyers on people’s lawns, and even verbally and physically abusing members of my community. As proud as I am to be Jewish, it’s difficult to think that a place that I call home could be so hostile to those who are like me: Jews who simply wish to live their lives safely without feeling threatened. As a result of this hostility, Jewish Angelenos have become fearful, causing many to take actions to hide their Judaism. 

These days, Jews in Los Angeles often tuck their Magen David necklaces under their shirts or refrain from wearing their kippot. I too have hid my Magen David at times. And while that may be a necessary response for my safety and the safety of those in my community, this is not a long-term solution. 

As we commemorate Tisha B’Av, a day of reflection on Jewish tragedies, one way to combat this hate is to be loud and proud about our Judaism. Another way is to show up for our non-Jewish neighbors who may also be experiencing hatred—not because we expect them to help us but because it is the right thing to do. Along the way, these connections will undoubtedly lead other communities to show up for us too. 

By spending my summer as a Micah D. Bycel Legislative Fellow with the Jewish Center for Justice, I hope to bring awareness not only to antisemitism, but also what we can do to prevent it. I hope you will join me and JCJ in taking on these issues. Facing hate is, unfortunately, nothing new to Jews. But if history tells us anything, it’s that we’re not going anywhere.

Waylon Richling is a rising senior at Brighton Hall School in Burbank.