Erin STANDS PROUDLY AS A JEW AND ZIONIST
Raised Jew-ish, as she says, Erin grew up lighting Hannukah candles before the Christmas tree, dying Easter eggs while her grandmother made gefilte fish for Passover, and going to synagogue once a year for the high holidays. She decided to start Hebrew school on her own at age 11 in preparation for her Bat Mitzvah. Six years passed with no meaningful involvement in any Jewish community, before Erin joined a friend on a Birthright trip, motivated solely by the idea of a free plane ticket to the Middle East. When she landed at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, something inexplicable occurred that forever changed Erin’s life. She spent the next ten days learning about, experiencing and falling in love with the country, returning six months later to study abroad, as well as subsequent programs around social entrepreneurship, and environmentalism as both a proud leader and active participant. In addition to seeking out Jewish community in cities around the world, deepening her commitment to Tikkun Olam values-driven work and related organizations and movements, and hosting and cherishing diverse Shabbat dinners and holiday festivities, she now has a second family in Israel, frequently visiting for simchas, as well as professional endeavors, cultural exploration and outdoor adventure.
Still, Jewish identity had never been at the forefront of Erin’s public life, work, reputation or messaging. That all changed on June 2, 2016.
While running for office, Erin became the target of horrific anti-Semitic attacks and death threats. Days before the election, the “filthy Jewess” woke up to a deluge of unspeakable hate on the sole basis of her faith. When she dared to speak out against the heinous attacks, neo-Nazis, white supremacy, so-called “alt-right,” and KKK-supporters, she was dubbed the “hissing weasel” by infamous neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin who shared her personal information on his website The Daily Stormer and incited the masses against her, necessitating involvement of the FBI, Department of Homeland Security Cyber Emergency Response Team, and local police.
In the face of a barrage of hatred reminding her that she is inferior and unwelcome in her own country, amid an alarming and perilous spike in anti-Semitism online and off in an increasingly tumultuous political and social landscape, instead of recoiling in fear or fading into silence, Erin has chosen to speak out against injustice, hatred and bigotry, rising as a powerful, prominent, proud, positive Jewish voice for justice, inclusion and progressive values in America and beyond. She is living proof that it is possible to be an activist and a Zionist, stand for human rights and Israel, rise behind justice and the Jewish state, among divisive social movements, political parties and international discourse. Erin is proud to collaborate with and serve organizations including Hillel, the Anti-Defamation League, Schusterman Foundation, Stand with Us, AIPAC, AJC, Zioness, IsraAID and more.