With incidents of anti-Semitism exponentially increasing in parts of the United States, I am blessed that I live in Hawaii, where I never have to fear that I will encounter verbal and physical assaults against me because I am a Jew.
I don’t disguise my heritage: I wear a Star of David chain around my neck, my two anti-Covid masks are stenciled with the word Israel on them, and when outdoors, I wear a cap featuring on the front the Hebrew word for life, Chai, with an upbeat 5 added to it; and on the back is the inscription Shaloha, a combination of Shalom ( peace) and Aloha. Throughout my daily activities in Honolulu, no one has ever said anything negative about my Jewish emblems, never mind lashing out at me.
In fact, this past week, two strangers (ostensibly non-Jewish) have warmly addressed me because they knew that I was Jewish or at least had Jewish sympathies. In the elevator at my Leisure Heritage condo, a man who saw me wearing my cap delightfully said Shaloha to me. And at the Honolulu Museum of Art Saturday night, after a security guard gave me directions to the exit, he reverently said Shabbat (Sabbath) Shalom.
With few exceptions, Hawaii graciously accepts and appreciates many minorities besides Jews: Micronesians, Muslims, Mormons, Buddhists, Unitarians, anyone on the LGBTQ sexual spectrum, interracial couples, even Republicans. Vive la difference!