Be informed.

by | Feb 10, 2022 | Other News

A friend recently said, “you do a great job of showing all sides of an issue in the paper.” Naturally, I appreciated his unsolicited comment, as balance and nuance are extremely important, especially with a readership with diverse opinions on seemingly every issue.

Sometimes, however, balance is not what’s called for. Sometimes, there just aren’t, as my mom used to say, “three sides to every story.” And, the only two sides should be labeled, ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ Some issues should garner the exact same reaction from a person who generally votes blue as from someone who votes red.

What I’m referring to are the antisemetic acts that have made national, as well as international headlines in recent months.

Consider the Tennessee school board that banned the Pultizer prize-winning Maus, a graphic novel about the Holocaust.

Consider the meaning behind Whoopi Goldberg’s words and then the reaction that followed.

Consider the small congregation in Texas that was held hostage by a man seeking freedom for a terrorist.

Consider the delay in confirming Deborah Lipstadt as U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.

Consider the Nazi demonstrators in Florida.

To be informed, to possess the understanding of what Maus represents, why Goldberg’s words set off a firestorm, why it matters that the gunman in Texas chose a synagogue and not a church or a café or a yoga studio, and why it’s important that leaders denounce Nazi demonstrators, is to have the power to respond with confidence and without apology.

If, however, we are not informed and prepared, we risk what took place in Tennessee, Texas, and Florida being more possible to occur in Virginia.

Last month, Governor Glenn Youngkin signed an Executive Order establishing a Commission to Combat Antisemitism. At this writing, applications are being accepted for individuals to participate.

“Every Virginian deserves the protection of the law, and this commission will chart a course for our Commonwealth that leaves antisemitism in the past,” said Youngkin in a release. “Our Jewish friends and neighbors must know that we stand with them against the tide of hate and discrimination.” For more information, go to

Whether you attend a program offered by United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Jewish Community Relations Council or an ADL webinar on fighting hate (one is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 17), or you choose to gain your information by reading, please be informed.

If we do not learn from history (even if that history is last week), we are doomed to repeat it.

Terri Denison