Ilana Argentar, a current sophomore at Buffalo Grove High School and a Diller Teen Fellow was selected to speak at the United Against Antisemitism Rally on Sunday, April 24th 2022 in Glenview. The rally was connected to the Resolution Against the Rise in Anti-Semitic Hate and in Support of Cook County’s Jewish Population, which was unanimously passed on April 7th, 2022 by Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton.
Hi. My name is Ilana Argentar and I am a
sophomore at Buffalo Grove High School.
Thank you to the Commissioner and to all of
you for being here today and standing up against hate. This is something I
personally feel passionate about.
My great grandparents faced unthinkable hate
and antisemetism including pogrums and the Holocaust in the 1920’s, 30’s and
40’s. My mom and grandparents fled Poland as
refugees, escaping antisemitism in the 1970’s.
And now, as a first generation American, I am
proud to be Jewish. Growing up, I have had the opportunity to
proudly attend Jewish day school, Jewish camp, Jewish youth groups and Jewish
clubs. I confidently wear my Star of David necklace
without fear. This kind of expressive Judaism is what my
family had always dreamt of.
As I hear about the rise in acts of
antisemitism around the world, nationally, and even in our own community, I
wonder why this is happening again. I have read about this in history class but
I would have never thought it would happen here. I wonder what my great grandparents would say
if they knew that the discrimination they had to endure was resurfacing. I wonder why people continue to hate us and
target our community. I wonder if I will ever feel the need to hide
my Star of David necklace for my safety. This feels sad and unthinkable to me. I wonder if there will be a time when we can
finally live in peace.
We can still reverse this. It is up to me and
my generation to become educated about our history. We can still stand up
against hate and say no. My hope for the future is that we will
continue to wear the symbols of our tradition. We can gather and pray in our synagogues
without fear. And that we will always be proud Jews.
About the Author: Ilana is a sophomore at Buffalo Grove High School. She participates in gymnastics, diving, and water polo. She is part of Jewish Student Connection at her school. Ilana spends most of her summers at her summer camp, OSRUI, in Oconomowoc, WI. She is currently part of the Diller Teen Fellows cohort 9 and is looking forward to spending three weeks in Israel this summer.