by Yaron “Ron” Weinberg
Last week at the Colorado State Capitol in Denver, the General Assembly was called back for a Special Session ostensibly to address property taxes. What we saw exemplified everything that is wrong with politics today, the complete hijacking of our legislative process through hate-filled rhetoric and echoes of division.
I am a byproduct of hatred and destruction. Like many Jews with European roots, I grew up with the stories of how my family endured the Holocaust. My grandmother watched as her parents were killed in front of her in the streets of Poland. She and her brother were then shipped to Auschwitz; she survived, but like many others, he was sent to the gas chamber.
My grandparents left Europe and settled in Israel, a place they thought they could escape turmoil and anti-Semitism. I spent most of my childhood living in South Africa, during which our family was robbed at gunpoint. My parents came to the realization that South Africa was not a safe place to raise their family and we made the long trek to the United States to start anew.
I am not looking for sympathy or pity, I tell my story as the basis for my life’s work: to bring unity and understanding everywhere I go. When protestors yell “from the river and to the sea” and other anti-Semitic chants, we must let the words of unity drown out those of division.
We have far more in common than we do that separates us. The voices of division often make catchy headlines and viral posts but we must not let the voice of reason and unity be lost. As Jews, we must face down division and continue the calls for unity.
As I said on the floor of the Colorado House of Representatives, “I am a Jew, and throughout the country that is not an easy thing to say.” Though it is not easy, we must lead by example and show that we are not enemies.
While I am the only Republican Jew in the Colorado Legislature, I am not alone. Minority Leader Mike Lynch and Representative Ty Winter in our caucus, to name a few, have supported me through this entire tumultuous situation. To overcome division, we must surround ourselves with people who may not be able to directly relate but have the empathy to support us through our contest.
This transcends partisan politics. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, it is an issue of right and wrong. My good friend and Democrat colleague Senator Dafna Michaelson-Jenet has stood with me time and time again since the October 7 massacre.
We have the power to work together instead of against each other. We must remember that we are here to make moral on the promise we made to the people we represent. What good are we to those people if we cannot do what we were called here to do?
Yaron “Ron” Weinberg is a Colorado State Representative (HD-51). He is the sole Jewish Republican in the Colorado Legislature.