As a young, Jewish girl who immigrated to the United States from the Soviet Union (now Russia) during the eighties, Chava Boroda has known the worst forms of oppression, bullying, and persecution. Below is a wonderful piece she has written and it’s well worth the read. Antisemitism is on the rise in today’s hostile world and sadly, the media seems to be sparse in its coverage of it. Only when we publicly address a problem will it be solved. Congratulations, Chava!
“As a Jew, I have always felt need to be the torchbearer of light into promoting peace and tolerance” – California-based Chava Boroda.
“When I finally established my own Jewish home – I knew that my mission should’ve been enhanced though making Judaism understandable and accessible for the Jewish people, as well as non-Jewish community” – she shares in her interview about the Jewish approach toward peace and tolerance.
Kyiv-born Chava spent her childhood in an environment, where she faced antisemitism as an integral part of the Soviet ideology and mentality, which often hurt her feelings, but never her faith.
“I’ve always had a critical eye toward man-made challenges, which tend to create so many obstacles for different layers of society. Even at an early age – I made an analysis that antisemitism often derives from ignorance among gentiles, who have almost no information about what Judaism is and who the Jews are”.
After arriving in the United States, Chava was taught about peace-building and tackling hate speech through education and activism. “Do not hate what you do not understand” – were the words that she cultivated into her thinking and used as a guide to establishing bridges between the Jews and non-Jews. Nevertheless, she has a mission to educate Jews themselves about their inspiring story spanning over and not limited to the middle ages, migration routes, Shtetls, Holocaust, or their struggle to establish the State of Israel.
“I knew that I had to make a move and bring education to non-Jews about Judaism. Especially after bringing five children into this world – I had a firm belief to ensure that generation of my children and children to come would not face antisemitism caused by ignorance toward the Jewish people”. Ever since her children were small, she has provided them with Jewish upbringing, but also fostered the development of their creative energy and talents in the secular world.
As a proud Jew, Chava has spent the last 25 years making Judaism appealing for all. Apart from working with non-Jews, she has a profound desire to bring all the Jewish communities together by embracing their unique cultural traits and peculiarities.
“I admire the mission of the YAD VASHEM in the world in maintaining the memory of the Holocaust among billions of people worldwide. There is one particular aspect of YAD VASHEM, which I have incorporated into my work and goals – stressing out the importance of the Righteous of the Nations, who saved Jews from the atrocities and often risked their lives”. She believes that if more gentiles had been educated about Judaism pre-WWII – then more people would stand up for their Jewish neighbors or compatriots. The latter argumentation is the sole factor for her work toward promoting tolerance and raising generations who will dare to speak out if they witness discrimination of antisemitism.
Chava has worked with thousands of young people in North America, Israel, and former Soviet Union space educating them about her Refusenik past, as well as raising awareness about promoting peace and understanding between people of various ethnic or religious backgrounds. In her mentoring efforts with young people, Chava cultivates tolerance as a fundamental identity.
“My inspiration derives from Abraham, the first Jew, who is recognized as a prophet by all three Abrahamic religions in the world.” She fully aligns herself with the ideas of the United Nations that “diversity is a form of wealth, not a factor of division”.
Chava sees great potential in the post-COVID 19 era, which has the potential of bringing more empathy among people, who have been witnessing how the whole world has fallen in the same boat against the pandemic. She hopes that more people will look through the “we the people” prism toward the need to build more accepting societies.
“With ongoing clashes between the police and public in the United States – it has become more obvious that educating people about peace and tolerance between all shall be an integral part of educating as early as kindergarten. Ever since I step my foot in the United States at age 14 and as a political refugee from the USSR, I made a realization, which inspires my work every day – diversity is a strength and not a weakness. Tolerance is always nurtured and I am excited to continue my daily work in the digital era and with all the age groups” – Chava shares.