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A CHABAD RESPONSE TO KANYE WEST

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On behalf of the editorial team at Mental Health Affairs, I’d like to address Kanye West’s Anti-Semitic comments on Twitter directly. As many of you know, I am a member of the Jewish community and identify as a Jewish person.

Given the long trip, I wanted to check in with the world before heading out of my house. That was when NBC’s Lester Holt broke the news on television. According to NBC, Kanye made some very explicit anti-Semitic remarks on Twitter. Given what I heard on the news, I figured I’d bring these hateful comments to my friend.

I was traveling to my friend’s house in Brooklyn. These are extraordinary times for me in my busy week. On these Sundays, I have the pleasure of re-re-engaging with the Chabad outlook on Life. Every few months, I travel to East New York to his home, where he invites me and shared friends to discuss and look into the deeper meanings of our mutual lives.

My friend’s take was somewhat different than I expected. Let me say this first. Because Kanye’s hate speech was so vulgar, I presumed my friend had some emotionally driven response. The news and politicizing of Kanye’s Twitter comment haven’t phased him. He wasn’t emotionally upset or distressed in the least. My friend’s outlook and takeaway were on a completely different level. Instead, we discussed struggle, overcoming plight, and connection to god.

“Not even Kanye can disrupt the Jewish connection to the creator,” my friend said, painting Kaye’s hate and endowing it with a more productive context. Today, my friend discussed the floods and Noah and the Arc in today’s weekly Torah portion. After discussing the reading, it became more apparent why my friend had this stance on Kanye. I understood why the hateful remarks didn’t bother my friend.

“God gives us all tests, and Kanye failed the test,” my friend summarized.

In doing so, my friend endorsed the artist for what he did for the entire world. In essence, he is signaling to the world how ignorant people are that share Kanye’s mentally unhealthy values and distorted beliefs.

My friend explained that, in the end, popular culture shouldn’t give Kanye’s remarks air time. This act of hate speech must be a firm reminder of why the Jewish people need to move closer to god through the teachings of Chabad.

Ultimately, propagating peace and togetherness is the goal. Peace and living in a world without discrimination must be at the forefront of our thinking. The world will always end up creating hate instead of affection toward others. I have to agree with my friend’s take.

My point is when it comes to ignorance, it’s everywhere. If you need a reminder, look around you, not just at social media but at your daily interactions.

In the end, Life must go on. Kanye’s hate must not stop anyone in the world from living righteously.

About the Author

J. Peters

Max Guttman is the owner of Recovery Now, a private mental health practice in New York City. Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, therapist, and disability rights advocate, Max fights for those without a voice in various New York City care systems. He received a ‘2020 Bearcats of the Last Decade 10 Under 10’ award from the Binghamton University Alumni Association.

Guttman treats clients with anxiety and depression but specializes in issues related to psychosis or schizoaffective spectrum disorders. He frequently writes about his lived experiences with schizophrenia.

‘I knew my illness was so complex that I’d need a professional understanding of its treatment to gain any real momentum in recovery,’ Guttman says. ‘After undergraduate school and the onset of my illness, I evaluated different graduate programs that could serve as a career and mechanism to guide and direct my self-care. After experiencing the helping hand of my social worker and therapist right after my ‘break,’ I chose social work education because of its robust skill set and foundation of knowledge I needed to heal and help others.’

‘In a world of increasing tragedy, we should help people learn from our lived experiences. My experience brings humility, authenticity, and candidness to my practice. People genuinely appreciate candidness when it comes to their health and Recovery. Humility provides space for mistakes and appraisal of progress. I thank my lived experience for contributing a more egalitarian therapeutic experience for my clients.’

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J. Peters

J. Peters

Max Guttman is the owner of Recovery Now, a private mental health practice in New York City. Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, therapist, and disability rights advocate, Max fights for those without a voice in various New York City care systems. He received a ‘2020 Bearcats of the Last Decade 10 Under 10’ award from the Binghamton University Alumni Association. Guttman treats clients with anxiety and depression but specializes in issues related to psychosis or schizoaffective spectrum disorders. He frequently writes about his lived experiences with schizophrenia. ‘I knew my illness was so complex that I’d need a professional understanding of its treatment to gain any real momentum in recovery,’ Guttman says. ‘After undergraduate school and the onset of my illness, I evaluated different graduate programs that could serve as a career and mechanism to guide and direct my self-care. After experiencing the helping hand of my social worker and therapist right after my ‘break,’ I chose social work education because of its robust skill set and foundation of knowledge I needed to heal and help others.’ ‘In a world of increasing tragedy, we should help people learn from our lived experiences. My experience brings humility, authenticity, and candidness to my practice. People genuinely appreciate candidness when it comes to their health and Recovery. Humility provides space for mistakes and appraisal of progress. I thank my lived experience for contributing a more egalitarian therapeutic experience for my clients.’

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