Salford- born teenager Poppy Waxman has spoken out about the damage caused by anti-Semitic comments after suffering abuse in silence for years.
Listening to the 18- year-old Poppy it was clear of her intellect and positive outlook on life.
However, as a young Jewish woman in Salford, she has endured anti-semitic comments disguised as humour throughout her life.
Some of these comments were so shocking we have decided not to disclose what was said to Poppy.
Words said in jest can have a lasting negative effect on the person at the receiving end.
The city of Salford is full of different suburbs, and this provides Poppy with different experiences when it comes to her Jewish Heritage.
Poppy lives in Broughton which is an area that according to the 2011 census, has a Jewish population of 14.2 per cent. She said: “When I go back to where I am from everyone is Jewish it’s a really big Jewish community.
“You’re comfortably walking around as Jewish whether it be wearing a really long skirt or the hat.”
The rest of Salford’s Jewish population is 3.3 per cent according to the same 2011 census.
Poppy studies in Pendleton and can feel the stark contrast between the two boroughs of Salford in how she is perceived.
She said: “In Pendleton, you’ve got to be a bit more reserved around it (being Jewish) because you don’t know who’s around.”
The necessity of conversations are fundamental in enabling people to get a better understanding of Judaism.
Poppy’s goal is to educate those who don’t understand the impact of anti-Semitic comments.
She said: “I don’t want to, it sounds silly, get anyone in trouble because of it but I know what they are doing is wrong
“You’re sort of put in a really uncomfortable position where if you do tell them you’re not playing along, you’re not having fun.
“I’m really open to talk about Judaism and what I believe in and what I don’t.”
Certain assumptions linked with Judaism can even be defamatory, as it’s important to know the context behind stereotypes.
“I’ve had people say to me before you’ve definitely got money and that’s not necessarily outright offensive.
“if you actually looked to where that idea came from its nazi propaganda, and propaganda before that where Jews were depicted as money stealers”
Poppy also inspires the younger generation within her community.
She part-takes in teaching young Jewish girls street dance in her community in aid to boost their confidence.
By seeing an advert in the Jewish Telegraph she knew she wanted to get involved.
“I got contacted by the woman who is running it, it’s called Vocalisars Jewish Academy of performing arts.
“It’s teaching young girls how to dance and I thought I had that opportunity when I was younger so it would be lovely to continue that on and do something I enjoy within the community.”
We should engage our brain before we open our mouths is the underlying message we can learn from Poppy.
A young influential person in her community, she hasn’t allowed harsh comments and anti-semetism to prevent her from making a positive impact.
“My religion will always be a part of me and no hatred will stop that.”
If you have faced any antisemitic comments here are some support networks that can offer support and counselling.
Feature image credit – Rene Mcintosh
All other image credits – Poppy Waxman