For Jews across the world, the past few weeks have been full of ups and downs, a true emotional rollercoaster as we have watched events unfold after the nightmarish October 7 massacre, resulting violence within Israel and Gaza and rising antisemitism around the world. The struggle to find the right words, or a productive outlet for these feelings, is something many of us have in common right now, sadly.
So for many, it was refreshing and validating to read Top Chef Gail Simmons’ Instagram post this past Friday, which so articulately put into words a combination of Jewish pride, recognition of a complicated and nuanced political dynamic, and looming fear in this heavy moment. Simmons, a Canadian-born Jewish food writer, culinary expert and one of the three judges from Bravo’s award-winning show “Top Chef,” has never shied away from her Jewish identity; She’s even had some pretty Jewish moments on the show, and has an excellent matzah ball soup recipe.
But her post this past Friday was a strong demonstration of just how deep her pride goes and the thoughtfulness she brings to her work and audience. It resonated deeply with me, and many of my friends as well. Gail, we thank you for speaking up and standing together in this moment.
“I am a proud Jew. We account for only 0.2% of the world population, and I feel compelled to use my voice.
I am tired of “buts” and “whatabouts”, any time I see anything positive about Israel.
I am begging you to acknowledge our pain, grief, and fear, without qualification.
I am asking you to stand up against antisemitism.
I am daring you to celebrate our humanity. “
See her full post below.