Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
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The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

Lt. Col. Avi Levi presents on the Israel Air Defense System.
JDS hosts speakers from Israeli Embassy
Mia Forseter, Sports Editor • May 22, 2024

Following Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'atzmaut, CESJDS invited three speakers from the Israeli embassy to further inform students about Israel and...

Joe Vogel speaking out to the community. Photo from https://www.joevogel.org/
It takes a village
Adam Salomon, Reporter • May 22, 2024

While, door-to-door campaigning, Junior Rafi Seigel knocks on the door of a family household in Maryland’s sixth district, asking them to vote...

Sophomore Oliver Silver teaches his grandparents what hes been learning in math this year.
Dor L' Dor Day
Gila Safra, Reporter • May 22, 2024

Summer vs. winter
Summer vs. winter
Eliana Abrams and Maya GreenblumMay 20, 2024

Lions hold up banner after defeating Sandy Spring in the championship.
Varsity softball wins championship two years in a row
Tyler Portnoy, Reporter • May 19, 2024

Crack. The bat hits the ball and sophomore Carrine Shemesh sprints towards first base as sophomore Eliana Wolf crosses the plate, scoring the...

The baseball team has two managers who can be found at the majority of the baseball teams games, Jordan Levy (‘24) and junior Josh Berl.
All bases covered: managers support the baseball team
Vivi Ducker, Features Editor • May 17, 2024

When in attendance at any of the CESJDS varsity baseball team’s games this year, next to the players on the bench, the baseball team managers....

Opinion: Holocaust jokes are not okay

Here+are+a+couple+of+examples+of+Holocaust+education+films+to+watch+instead+of+resorting+to+humor.+
Sophie Schwartz
Here are a couple of examples of Holocaust education films to watch instead of resorting to humor.

From swastikas found in Jewish spaces, to hate speech on the internet, Jewish people are constantly being reminded of the hatred and horror of the Holocaust. These hate actions are often not taken lightly by Jewish communities. Yet, after 10 years of attending Jewish school, a space where primarily Jews are present, I have seen the Holocaust being taken lightly in a different way within Jewish communities: through Holocaust humor. 

The Holocaust is too frequently brought up in a humorous context. While in non Jewish settings it is understood as antisemitic, Holocaust humor is just as common in Jewish settings, where its inappropriateness is overlooked. 

Even in the media, shows produced by Jews such as “The Producers” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” have glorified Hitler or made jokes about the events of the Holocaust. But why would the ancestors of victims and survivors of this tragic event portray the Holocaust in a humorous way less than 100 years later?

The easiest way to answer this question would be to blame these jokes on the psychological phenomena where humans resort to humor when addressing uncomfortable topics. Psych Central explains that humor is used as a way to deflect trauma, because the negative emotions evoked by that trauma are alleviated when the trauma is framed as a lighthearted joke. 

Even though Jewish teenagers are not directly traumatized by the Holocaust like their grandparents or great-grandparents, the emotional weight has been carried throughout generations through testimonies, documents and Holocaust education. I know for myself that the topics we cover in the course Modern Jewish History are difficult and emotional, so for many students this psychological phenomena explains their behavior.

This issue is especially prevalent now, as more and more years have passed since the Holocaust. While immediately after, or during the shock and trauma of the event, no one would think to make a joke, time has led to a greater desensitization. 

This idea can most easily be easily understood through the context of Oct. 7. If someone at CESJDS made a joke about the current events in Israel, chances are the response of their peers would not be positive. However, even though the Holocaust was an event of even larger scale violence towards Jews, it feels less personal to today’s teens. Therefore it has become a more acceptable topic to joke about.

However, I believe that humor is not an acceptable way of talking about the Holocaust, even though many Jewish people hold the opinion that Holocaust jokes are allowed to be made by Jews. Being the nation that was directly affected by this event, we are the ones to set the precedent about conversations relating to the Holocaust. By joking about it, we send the message to others that it is acceptable to joke about. 

In a YouGov poll done in December of 2023, one fifth of United States citizens of a variety of races, incomes, genders and political parties between the ages of 18 and 29 surveyed, answered that they believe that the Holocaust is a myth. Twenty three percent of those surveyed said they believe the Holocaust has been exaggerated. Making jokes about the Holocaust just perpetuates the issue of people not believing in the Holocaust as it minimizes the seriousness of the event. 

Especially after Oct. 7, the largest massacre of Jewish people since the Holocaust, our community is being threatened again. Jews across the world are recovering the phrase “Never Again,” a phrase that originated as a response to the large-scale antisemitism during the Holocaust. Instead of belittling the tragedy of the Holocaust by making jokes about it, we must raise awareness on antisemitism to maintain strength as the Jewish people did 100 years ago.  

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About the Contributors
Maiya Blumenthal
Maiya Blumenthal, Opinion Editor
Maiya is so excited to continue her work on the Lion’s Tale this year as an opinion editor. She can’t wait to help people share their ideas with the community in this role. Outside of Lion’s Tale, Maiya plays basketball, tennis and piano, and participates in Friendship Circle and the CESJDS Debate Team. Maiya can’t wait to work with the rest of the Lion’s Tale staff to produce interesting and unique content this year.  
Sophie Schwartz
Sophie Schwartz, Opinion Editor
Sophie is excited to continue her work on the Lion’s Tale this year as an opinion editor. She is looking forward to helping the new staff and designing creative spreads. Outside of Lion’s Tale, Sophie plays on the JDS Girls Tennis team, is a team leader for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and participates in the STARS program and the AJC teen initiative. In addition, she loves playing with her dog, cooking, going to the beach, and hanging out with her family and friends. She can’t wait to work with her co-editor to produce an amazing opinion section.  

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