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Readers reflect on the sting of sudden bigotry

People attend the "NO FEAR: Rally in Solidarity with the Jewish People" event in Washington on July 11, 2021.Susan Walsh/Associated Press

Cashier handed out a lesson

I have one more story prompted by Scot Lehigh’s May 12 column (“Readers’ advice on how to respond to an antisemitic incident,” Opinion). Some three decades ago, I was second in line to pay for an item at a convenience store in Brookline. The teenager in front of me was charged $1.01 for his purchase. The cashier asked the teen if he had a penny, and the boy responded, “What, do you think I’m Jewish?” The cashier took the teenager’s two dollars and gave him 99 pennies in change. When my turn came to pay, I gave the cashier my money and my praise.


James Alan Fox


Each of us has a responsibility to rise to the occasion

Scot Lehigh’s column on antisemitism is important for the times we’re living in, when so much hatred toward the “other” has been unleashed. When I worked in a Catholic hospital, where many of the staff were Jewish, a nun visiting from the Southwest came with crafts made by Indigenous tribes. I admired a bracelet but the price was a bit high. The nun commented that she would try to “Jew down” the artist to a lower price. I went to the CEO (also a nun) and asked that she explain to our visitor why the term is offensive.

It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to say and do something when derogatory terms or actions are expressed toward others in this, the most diverse country in the world. It is our strength.

Ruth Smith


There’s power in a blank expression

Sadly, this type of conduct is far too common. Many people find it amusing, even if they know it is hurtful to be so plainly bigoted. I tend to express disappointment by not smiling, laughing, or even reacting. That in itself stings and is easier than trying to educate someone who simply must know better. It sometimes appears like they are trying to get a reaction, and depriving them of that satisfaction is very powerful. (Posted on BostonGlobe.com by Richmond12)


‘I feel bad about it over 40 years later’

When I was young I once, in ignorance and insensitivity, used the expression “Jew them down” to a colleague. They recoiled like I had slapped them, but they said nothing. I later learned they were Jewish. I feel bad about it over 40 years later, and I wiped that expression from my vocabulary. (Posted by improvr)