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Wearing Israeli flags at a public school graduation in New York

יעל חזן

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

The picture you see here was taken this week in the Woodmere neighborhood of Long Island, New York, where Yael Hazan graduated from a very large public high school. After enduring many anti-Israel and anti-Jewish taunts and barbs during her years at the school, she decided that when the other students wore blue gowns at the graduation ceremony, she would wear a blue gown that made a statement. On the front of the gown, she attached two Israeli flags that she had sewn, hanging down on both sides.

I spoke this week with her mother. A great many of her classmates attacked her for what she did. They wrote "Free Palestine" on social media posts. And they added: "You have garbage on your gown. Clean it up."

But many Jewish students and their parents said that they were strengthened and uplifted by what she did. "Congratulations on raising your daughter the right way. "If only my son were so attached to his identity,"one mother wrote to the mother of Yael. "It was inspiring to see what Yael wore at the graduation ceremony," another mother wrote. "She made me think."

Yael does not represent all the Jews of America. If only that were the case. But while so many in America sail placidly over the balmy waters of apathy, assimilation, and alienation from their identity, one girl created a storm that deserves wider recognition.


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