Today is not a beautiful day to celebrate, but rather to remember and share some words. I don't know who is reading this today and where you are from. But today is November 9th, which is a very important date in Germany, again, not to celebrate, but to remember and pay respect to the happenings from 1938. This date is also called Kristallnacht or as you might know it, too, Night of Broken Glass or simply November progroms - the day when many synagogues and Jewish praying houses were burned down, destroyed, and Jewish life was more and more removed from the German DNS. 

A terrible day in German history. 

Many people know German history well, at least when it comes to the time when an Austrian guy took over and created more than a war against Jews. It was a war and hate crime on diversity and the things which make life actually good. 

Don't feel confused when I talk about historical things here on the website, too, since I am a nerd and historic who loves to chit chat about everything which influences our lives today, too. 

This is what it is about today, too, this should not be a post on historical facts from the 1930s, but I want to take this scenario and put it into a bigger context: life, well-being, mental health - it's all connected. 

In the last couple of months, I have stumbled upon some things which made me study more and simply unlearn and learn new things. 
It actually made me so happy and excited that I wanted to share this with you, too. But I wanted to share this today, not earlier. I could write about this here very randomly, but I wanted us to be respectful today and make this a more positive day in the future. Maybe you will learn some things today or maybe this will change the way you think about Jewish life in general. 
It's great to connect this way and I am more than excited to surely share more stories like this in the future, simply because it matters. 

Let's start from the beginning. I am writing this down by myself right now and I am not sure with how many people I will interact throughout this post, but I want to make this a vivid conversation and not 7000 words which are boring for you to read and scan through. 

I am not even sure where to start. 
Talking to my dear German readers but also the ones who are located all around the world. I do not know how Jewish life is happening around the globe, so don't take my words for your home or where you live - I can only talk about my experience and the sentiment that my country is spreading and sharing. 

What do I actually know about Jewish life, jews, or Jewish religion in general? 
Well, I can tell that I didn't grow up around jews and in school we never talked about Jewish life or religion. The only time when we discussed being Jewish was when in history the chapter with Hitler and WWII started. Suddenly it was there and we all felt bad and ashamed. 
That's something from the past, this does not deal with us anymore, right? To be honest, I never really understood much about it and I was scared to dig in deeper, because I was scared to learn more, I guess. 

Just like so many other Germans, my grandparents were involved in WWII and Nazi Germany. Did they tell me all of it? No. Do I know some things today?... Maybe. But how much does this affect me? Again, I didn't do anything... I am just the offspring... with a contaminated DNS, kinda. 
We are the generation of grandchildren who want to know answers. Our education is a bit confusing since it is based on a lot of secrets maybe wrong information, denying, or simply being quiet about taboos and historical facts. It's frustrating. 

I personally came in touch with Jewish culture when I started being in NYC so much. A cultural shock in the beginning, but also something intriguing which made my heart feel warm. 
I connected to Jewishness through food. Little did I know that basically anything you can eat in the Big Apple was brought by the Jewish immigrants who settled for a new life in this crazy concrete jungle. Bagles, bialys, knishes, all those delis with the most delicious sandwiches, black and white cookies which I only know from my childhood in Kindergarten (I thought this was typically German), and so much more - it is all Jewish and so damn good. 

I was and still am on the hunt for the best places and funnily, I always stay in LES which is the source to Jewish life in NYC. I don't know how it happened, but one day, I was so deep in this study that I don't even remember how it really started. I took inspiration back home and I was excited to go back to NYC to explore it even further. 

In my kitchen, in the South-West of Germany, I found myself making black and white cookies again, which we actually call Americans (don't think about the name) here. Jewish food suddenly was very popular and so many food blogs and social media celebrated this like it was the best thing happening to us human beings. Actually it is true... 
I observed everything out there while practicing making the best bagels... 

When watching all the people going crazy on their challah creations, I jumped in, too, and finally I understood why Jewish food culture is so dear to my heart. 
It's my DNS, too. 
I am not Jewish, but German, and we can fight over this, but our way to eat is very similiar. I already talked about the black and white cookies, how about latkes - Kartoffelpuffer, challah - Hefezopf, sufganiyot - Berliner or jelly filled donuts, or our most celebrated cultural good we keep very dear to our hearts and stomachs, the schnitzel. 

German and Jewish food culture is basically brother and sister if you ask me. 

Just the way of eating and feasting is almost the same, I noticed that even our language was alike when hiking through Brooklyn one day. 
I was walking past 3 Jewish boys who were speaking German I thought. I understood everything they said. I thought my jet lag was messing with me until I realized that they spoke Yiddish. 

All of a sudden, this foreign, secret-ish, and so far away culture was actually closer to my own that I thought. Jewish life is not dead, it is not hard to understand, it is not a threat, and it is not unimportant to learn about. It is actually the opposite. Jewishness is all around us, we need to open our eyes and we need to celebrate it. Pay respect to what they actually do and how much nicer they actually make this planet. Jewish contributions, not only to NYC, matter a lot and it is time that we wake up, learn about it, and spread the word. 

This is not only something we Germans need to learn, but the whole world. 
We know that we are facing many anti-Semitic attacks all around the globe - this is not a secret. It doesn't matter if this is Germany, the US, or somewhere else around the world, hate against Jews is still present and the reason why is not really clear. 

As I mentioned in the beginning, I am not sure about education systems and syllabi from other countries, but I don't know how much we actually talk about Jewish people, their beings, history, and their culture. We do not have to understand the religion to every detail and practice shabbat to feel closer to a "foreign" religion or belief, but we need to unlearn what we have learned the last years in school. 
In my head, what I took from school, is a lot of negativity and pain when it comes to Jewish topics. I have no clue about Jewish success stories, or great Jewish biographies. 
Think about how much this would change if kids around the globe grow up like this and learn a love language towards everything foreign than a hate language. 

Difference don't mean we have to hate or not tolerate the opposite person, it actually invites us to dig deeper and see that we have more in common than we thought. 

It is a huge obligation of our schools to stop stereotypes or simply update the syllabus to change what has gone wrong in the past. 

Because history is taught in such a weird and shameful manner, it is not shocking to me that Americans still believe that German citizens are Nazis. I am not putting all Americans into one box, but I am speaking very openly about this and it was a horrifying experience for me, inside the air plane, sandwiched by two guys, where one of the guys asked me if I was a Nazi, since I come from Germany. Americans like to talk very loud and confident, too, so it was no wonder that many heard him saying this and so I got many looks and couldn't hide really. 
I just wanted to get up and leave. 

We all carry stereotypes along with us. 
They are horrible and not appropriate for those modern times. 

Well, if stereotypes don't matter anymore... why can't we just get rid of them?
Good question. 

What can we do? 

We can all be a part of the education system, simply by starting a conversation, just like I did today. 

What I celebrate even more than me talking so much about it, are campaigns and special marketing things which animate us to get active or simply learn about the things we should know more about. 

My big inspiration of the year was "Tsurikrufn", a project celebrating 1700 years of Jewish life in Germany. Oh yes, how beautiful! 
Tsurikrufn is Yiddish, meaning recalling something: memories, conversations, stories. I am so mindblown by this great digital project which invites us to learn about great Jewish personalities who made Germany a very special place through their being and efforts.
The website is remembering great German Jews who were important and influential when it comes to art, design, literature, or music. It has a lot of nostalgic vibes, but it also makes me, as a non-Jew, proud to see how much greatness has been around in Germany the last 1700 years. And yes, they were Jews. I am not saying this to make the "outsider" be always the outsider, but I want to emphasize and underline that Jewish life is German life, too.
Germany wouldn't be Germany without the Jews. History was treating them badly and we all feel sorry and bad about it. We acknowledge the pain and grief, but we can also celebrate and cherish great accomplishments. Lifting spirits and feeling good about the creations that others did to contribute to well-being and community. 

Collage elements from Tsurikrufn

On Tsurikrufn, you'll find great people and inspiring stories and I bet you will learn things which make you curious to know more about! 
I am very thankful for the people who created this and I hope I am not the only one who stumbled upon this! 

But what's happening when 2021 is over and we are done celebrating 1700 years of Jewish life in Germany?
In my case, it was the US shaking me and waking me up, connecting with Jewish life and finally learning about this great culture. 

In Germany, being Jewish is still stigmatized and it feels like Jewish life is not existing publicly - nobody talks about it. 
But then you go to the big cities and you'll get to see a bit of memorial culture - is this all that the Jewish community deserves? My city is doing a great job here... we have a lot of Jewish memorial things throughout the city, but somehow it makes me feel like these things show that Jewishness couldn't survive here. 

There are still Jews living in Germany. 
Everywhere in the world. 

And it's time to make Jewish life, Jewish religion, and Jewish culture being a normal part of our daily. Just as we accept that there are men and women walking out there, we should accept that we all come from somewhere and our origins may differ, our beliefs may be a bit different, but we are not an alien to each other. We are all human beings and we can learn so much from each other! 

So any ideas for the future?

Well, Germany could start with updating their religion classes syllabus. Maybe the history syllabus needs a little update, too. Did you learn in school about Theodor Lessing, Heinrich Heine, Felix Mendelssohn or such? Ohhhh, didn't you know they were German Jews? 
Yes, we do not need to stress this with every biography, but I want kids, adults, and everyone to understand that we are not excluded from Jewish life.

It is here - all around us. And still we hate on something we actually secretively admire. Paradox, if you ask me. 

Let's learn to love what makes us so different. 

Keep the memorial culture alive, but bring this into our daily. More campaigns, more projects like "Tsurikrufn", and simply more voices to have conversations like this. 

Plan a trip to Frankfurt, Berlin, or whatever big city offers great Jewish cultural goods. The Jewish Museum in Frankfurt is such a cool place to visit! Again, it is all there, we just need to take the first steps! Read about my personal review of the museum here - I am a big fan already and I've been there only once! 

Inform yourself. What Jewish thing can I see in my city? Is there a community? Explore Jewish food culture, cook yourself to happiness and spread the love with your family and friends. 

It's time to kill stereotypes and end with bad connotations which were simply made up during Nazi Germany to simply spread hate. Propaganda is a bad and very influential tool when it comes to hate and fake news. But we can turn this into a more positive light today. Together. 

This post can be seen as a complaint on how much we are sleeping on finally ending this bullshit of differentiating religions and making one better than the other. Also it is harsh from my side to criticize our education system, but I wonder how we can shake things up. Sometimes the truth is simply painful and we always need some people to simply open their mouths. The Sagittarius is fully awake right now, typing this not only with my fingers, but with my (rebel) heart. 

We need to unlearn our thoughts, ideas, and knowledge on so much, simply because its wrong. We should be open to not put our culture and beliefs first, but be willing to understand what else is out there. More representation. more explaining, more seeing, more hearing, using all senses. 

Germany, but also dear rest of the world, make Jewish life more visable. We have all these senses to experience life on so many levels. Jewish life has to become a normality. Not only to make an ending to historical discussions, shaming, blaming, and being quiet about the past, but also to let Jewish people live. Don't make them feel unwelcome in their home. Don't make them feel scared about simply having a different religion or culture. Don't make them feel like they are less worth, because of society and its weird assumptions. Don't play with their mental health. 

Human beings, no matter their religion, deserve the freedom to live and be whatever they want to be, whenever they want to be, and however they want to be. 

Our job is to support and uplift. Together we can only be better! 

Are we willing to unlearn some old patterns today?