Recently, and particularly this Hanukkah, we’ve seen a rash of incidents indicating the unfortunate prevalence of antisemitism. As this Association of Jewish Libraries statement says, “We will not allow our communities to accept antisemitic terrorism or any other form of hate crime as ‘the new normal.’ We will spread knowledge to fight hate. Please join us.” The statement links to the AJL’s Love Your Neighbor series of booklists, which aims to demystify the Jewish experience as well as show examples of Jews and others getting along and supporting each other. Because as always, this is what books can do: they can show how similar we are, and that our differences aren’t something to fear. 

In our March issue, we’ll feature a conversation between AJL’s Heidi Rabinowitz (the driving force behind the statement) and KitaabWorld’s Sadaf Siddique about representation of Judaism and Islam, Jews and Muslims in young people’s literature; see also KitaabWorld’s Counter Islamophobia Through Stories list. Sadaf and Heidi’s conversation highlights the similarities in our needs and concerns. Because we’re not so different. 

As this Hanukkah’s events unfolded, photos of lit menorahs and the loved ones surrounding them went up on social media with the hashtag #SpreadLight. Let’s spread stories. Let’s spread knowledge. Let’s shed light. Let’s #SpreadLight.

Shoshana Flax
Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, assistant editor of The Horn Book Magazine, is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons University. She was a 2019-2020 member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee.

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