Years ago, when Facebook was new and shiny and solely the purview of the young and hip, I wrote a column begging, pleading and pretty much threatening my mother to stay off the site.
Facebook was a place for 20-somethings to post pictures of themselves acting stupid, and who needed Mom commenting, criticizing and ruining the fun?
Well, here it is in print, Mom, so you can frame it, or tape it to your forehead and show it to all your friends: I was wrong.
Facebook needs you. You may have weird syntax and bad grammar and a complete disdain for spellcheck, but you have something that Facebook posters don’t have these days: knowledge.
My about-face started with Israel, when people began posting that Israel was committing genocide and that the world would be better off with fewer Jews. Mom, you were born in a refugee camp to Polish parents who lost everything except their lives. You lived down the road from where Eichmann was jailed and you served in an Israeli army that continues to protect Jews from slaughter while providing humanitarian aid to the very people who are trying to kill us.
You have the experience and the knowledge and the power of truth to face down people who have never been east of Manhattan but who confidently type nonsense about Israel from their dorm rooms in Berkeley. Most importantly, you know what posts like theirs portend. And you know that, this time, we fight back.
So you chose to be a teacher and you instilled a love of Judaism in a bunch of Southern California kids, many of whom went on to become rabbis—including some of the girls. You made sure that the people you spoke to understood what Israel stands for—and what it definitively doesn’t. You empowered countless girls to become the kind of women who expect to be treated with respect at work, the kind of respect you demanded from the people around you.
That’s why you’re needed on Facebook. It is the world’s town square; information—and misinformation—is shared there. Public opinion is shaped there. Society is building a collective unconscious there. “Educated” people get to believe that stuff too, now. Then they can share those views in between posts featuring pictures of their food. Progress!
So, Mom, post away on Facebook. Make your voice heard; share your stories and experiences with a generation of people who need to hear it. Make a difference on the world stage and set straight the countless “experts” who spew toxic misinformation to millions of people every day.
Just stay away from Instagram.
After a 10-year career as a newspaper reporter for the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register, Mayrav Saar left to try her hand at child rearing and freelance writing.