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An open letter to Taylor Swift:

 

Dear Taylor,

 

I think the world needs to cut you some slack. Lately I’ve been confronted by many swifties that are deeply conflicted. They have been your fans since day one, and are quite literally obsessed with you. They admire you for your music, your values, and the positivity you bring to the world. 

 

Yet, as Jews, they grapple with a sense of conflict. They are unsure if they can continue to look up to you as a role model while at the same time standing up for their people in their greatest time of need.

 

I may not know you personally, and honestly, I might be one of the few in America unfamiliar with your music. But it is precisely because I don’t know you that I refrain from passing judgment.

 

In Judaism, we're taught to give others the benefit of the doubt, to assume positive intent, and to offer the most generous interpretation of any situation.

 

We owe you no less.

 

When questioned on the red carpet about whether you would say "bring them home," you opted to remain silent in that moment. You were being asked to give a voice to those who can’t speak - to speak out on behalf of the innocent women, men, children and even babies that were kidnapped in Israel from their homes and from the nova music festival.

 

At that moment, the Jewish community was outraged.

 

Personally though, I admire your silence. 

 

I appreciate your choice to refrain from responding when lacking all the facts. It's commendable to withhold words when unsure of the right thing to say. I hope others take note and follow your example.

 

We have been advocating for those who lack understanding of this issue to remain silent. Across America, there are thousands of college students who, regrettably, have been indoctrinated to support terrorism without comprehending what they are supporting. They have no idea which river and sea they reference when advocating for the eradication of the Jewish people living there. Never having set foot in the region, they fail to grasp its complexities. Nonetheless, they march through the streets, protesting for a cause they are know nothing about.

 

But not everyone is ignorant. Far too many individuals today understand what is right and wrong but hesitate to express their opinions due to the deafening and repugnant voices of evil, along with the useful idiots who bolster them. They fear the repercussions of being canceled.

 

For a Jew, this is profoundly alarming. Our collective memory is haunted by the neighbors of our great grandparents who stood idly by as millions were led to their slaughter. 

 

We are acutely aware that silence is violence.

 

Hitler could never have exterminated 6 million Jews if others came to our defense and stood up against evil.

 

Taylor, giving you the benefit of the doubt means that I trust that your silence on this matter is not because you’re unwilling to use your platform to save lives by speaking out against hate and terrorism. I trust that you simply don’t know the facts and as the intelligent woman that you are you choose to remain silent until you do.

 

Unfortunately, unlike college kids, you don't have the luxury of remaining ignorant on this critical matter. With your significant platform and influence, you cannot afford to be uninformed.

 

I sincerely extend an invitation, without a hint of sarcasm, for you to sit down with me or another rabbi, or even your bodyguard* who is currently on the frontlines in Israel, and earnestly delve into understanding the truth. It's an opportunity to gain clarity and insight into this complex issue.

 

Try and understand the facts as they are and then once you do, use your magnificent voice and your profound platform to denounce terrorism. To call for the immediate release of all of those innocent civilians being held hostage in Gaza. As the self proclaimed feminist that you are, call out the rape and sexual assault that hundreds of Israeli women experienced on October 7 and say unequivocally that rape is not resistance.

 

I humbly suggest that you owe it to yourself, you owe it to your fans, and you owe it to the world.

 

 

I’m happy to talk whenever you’d like.

 

Rabbi Menachem Lehrfield 

 

 

 

 

 

*Taylor’s bodyguard said the following from Israel in a statement that he shared with Variety. “I got an amazing dream job that I love, great friends that I call family and a very comfortable home. I didn’t HAVE to come here… But I could not stand on the sidelines while families are being slaughtered and burned alive in their homes!!! Just for being Jewish or for being Israelis…While one side is protecting babies, kids and the elderly, the other side is using those as human shields!!! It’ll be an insult to animals worldwide to call them ‘animals’ but those are not human beings. They killed and slaughtered families in their beds alongside family’s pets!!!! And then they burned the houses down!!!! Try to imagine that happening in your own neighborhood, to your next door neighbors or to a family you know.”

 

“I’m not only standing here with Israel and actually standing here. I’m standing here with humanity,” the guard said to Swisa, who posted about the news on his TikTok and Instagram. “Don’t be on the wrong side of history!! Don’t stand on the sidelines and say nothing… Stand with Israel, stand with HUMANITY!!!!!”

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