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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

After absorbing the distressing news and learning about the tragic war crimes in Israel, a deep sense of urgency prompted me to reach out to my close family members and express my love for them. During our conversation, just before my grandma ended the call, she shared a profound insight with me: “It’s easier to spread love than to spread hate.” Those words have repeated in my mind ever since as I grapple with the abundance of hatred in the world.

Born into a Jewish family, I am acutely aware of my heritage, and my pride in my Judaism has always been unwavering. While I may not be exceptionally observant, my Jewish community consistently brings illumination into my life. Listening to Rabbi Wilhelm speak during Shabbat dinners about the importance of spreading peace, love, and happiness never fails to uplift my spirits. The infectious joy I experience at CU Boulder Chabad is heartwarming. Moreover, our celebration of love and unity extends beyond the boundaries of Judaism. Friends who are not Jewish have eagerly joined us in celebrating holidays with my family; even my brother’s non-Jewish friend attended Hebrew school for a year. Our family friend, Michelle, is always on the lookout for anyone in need of positivity and exclaims, “You’re coming to my house for Shabbat dinner this Friday!” This is a Mitzvah—a term frequently used in the Jewish faith to denote a “good deed.”

I don’t intend to suggest that every Jewish person is flawless but rather to convey that the essence of Judaism revolves around disseminating light, love, and hope throughout the world. My message is simple: I don’t concern myself with your religion, race, or gender. What truly matters is that you are a human being with a heart that radiates love rather than hate.

As a Jewish American, educating and raising awareness is my responsibility. The Jewish people are a family. They are my family. During my Birthright trip, a 10-day journey to Israel for Jewish adults aged 18-25, I felt an unparalleled connection to my roots. We had the privilege of meeting and befriending soldiers from the IDF who joined our group. Although our upbringings differed and hailed from different countries, we shared an innate understanding of our heritage and connection.

Babies are not born to hate; they are taught to hate. This is not just a regional dispute; it’s a humanitarian crisis. I could succumb to the heartbreak and helplessness in the face of Israel’s suffering, or I could choose to educate those who may not grasp the gravity of the situation. 

This is more than just an Israel-Palistine conflict; It’s a relentless terrorist assault on Israel. Even when my Instagram story, expressing my solidarity with Israel, attracts hate messages, I refuse to be silenced. Let me make this unequivocally clear: there are two choices: be a compassionate human heartbroken by the innocent lives lost in Israel or align with the position I find inhumane.

If we neglect history, it repeats itself. Survivors of the holocaust are now witnessing this appalling tragedy unfold. In middle school, the boys in my class jokingly threw coins on the floor in front of my desk and said, “You’re a jew; pick it up.” This incident underscores not just the issue of antisemitism but the alarming spread of hatred like a disease. Once again, this is not a simple two-sided matter. 

Spread love, Spread kindness, and remember that we are all human beings. My heart goes out to the people of Israel; to my Jewish family that I am praying for.

Taylor Gurtman

CU Boulder '24

Taylor is a senior at CU Boulder and is majoring in journalism. Besides writing articles, Taylor enjoys hiking, listening to podcasts, and laughing with her friends.