Bully Incident #1: You Killed Jesus (1976)

As part of my understanding the bullying that happened to me, I’ve decided to chronologically tell the incidents of my being bullied starting from my earliest memories. As an adult, I often wonder if these stories are exaggerated from the mind of the child I was. I don’t believe so, but I’m sure the perspective is different. But that’s part of the problem!

As adults, of course we can rationalize what happened when we were children and see incidents as much less impactful. But it’s not happening to us as adults, it’s happening to us as children. And wherever we are emotionally and mentally when the incident happens, that’s what sticks with us. So, the incident I’ll describe below may not be that big, but it sticks with me. I don’t know why, but as a child, it was my first real brush with hate.

For the first 7 years of my life, I don’t recall any bullying. I don’t think that is unique. I feel like bullying really starts around mid to late elementary school. We moved in 1975 from Maryland to Lexington, Massachusetts. In Maryland I had lots of friends. Lexington was different. Somewhere in the first year there, I was walking down the street in my neighborhood when two twin neighbor girls who were maybe 6 approached me. They looked me straight in the face and said “you killed Jesus” and spit on me, then ran away.

I should say now that I am Jewish, but don’t wear it on my sleeve. It seems obvious to me that they found out I was Jewish and heard that Jews killed Jesus (not that uncommon back in the mid-70s belief). I’m not even sure I had talked to these two kids before and I just remember being embarrassed about being Jewish. What did I do? Why the hatred? To this day, I still don’t know if I can answer those questions. But I know that I’m not the only one who has heard that.

That’s the first incident of bullying I recall. You may say to me that was not bullying. But to me, it is. I didn’t do anything to provoke it.

Or did I?

It’s a question I do ask myself. What do you think? I will continue to add the stories of the bullying in my young life here. This is just the beginning. The ending, unfortunately leads me to this point, 28 years later, to want to tell the story and hear your stories, so we can all learn, and hopefully help others. Thanks for reading.

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About Alan Eisenberg

Alan Eisenberg is a Certified Life Coach, Bullying Recovery activist and author of "A Ladder In The Dark: My journey from bullying to self-acceptance" and "Crossing the Line". He has been writing and speaking to various audiences about the issue of C-PTSD and Bullying Recovery. Mr. Eisenberg has been featured on several print, radio shows and podcasts on this issue, including NPR and in the Boston Globe. He is currently working toward his Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling.
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  1. This is an interesting begininng of something. I will keep watching to see what unravels..


  2. I vaguely reember this…..

  3. …funny after spending some time over the past day remembering my childhood in Lexington, it’s amazing how much I can still remember quite vividly. As for the change in perspective between childhood and adulthood, everything we experience when we are young is always amplified by our small age and size. Think of how how big a car seemed back then (OK, I’ll grant that they were indeed much bigger back then), but I’m sure you know what I mean. What we would now see as a small formation of rocks may have seemed like a mountain that just had to be conquered over and over again.

    But I digress. Let me get back to “Bully Incident #1”; I’ll bet I can refresh some memory here for you. The “twin” girls were actually about four years apart. The older being Federica and her younger sister Francesca (I’m sure you’ll remember them as “Fred and Fran”).

    Fred I believe instigated the incident (and most others for that mnatter) and was the persistent one of the two, while her younger sister would simply follow suit although not nearly as aggressive.

    In my first encounter with the two when I first moved into the neigborhood in 1973, I was walking down the street with my sister to check out our new neighborhood when off I suddenly heard, “Hey Jellyface!”. I looked to my right and there the two of them are standing in their driveway. Fortunately, this did not evolve into anything more unpleasant, and in time we all became friends. In fact it became a story that we all laughed about later, and to this day my sister amd I still get a chuckle out of it.

    What I will add to your recollection of these two, “Fred” in particular, is that she coud be very confrontational. Maybe it had a bit to do with the clique she ran with; the popular one that looks down on everyone else. At the time it was the “in-crowd” who was listening to disco and the like. My sister even fell in step with this clique for a while.

    These were the girls that thought of themselves as the best of the best. They were trend setters and would colectively decide who they liked and didn’t like. The ones who were not on any given weeks “In list” were shunned by the rest. Oddly enough (or maybe not) it makes me think of the movie Mean Girls. They definitely did exist, and I’m sure still do.

    It’s something that some people outgrow, yet some never do. It’s quite possible that people who felt entitled like this back then were also the ones who gave rise to the “Me” generation. I may be wrong, but deep down I think I’m right on the money.

    Bear in mind, I’m not trying to cast any stones here. It just is what it is.

  4. That must have sucked, but i’ve had worse. since kindergarden i’ve been bullied for being jewish. I’m still bullied till this day (i’m in 11th grade). Ive had people standing on a table in school shouting “jew! there’s a jew in the classroom!” and my teacher didn’t do a thing. People have yelled “burn the jews!” i was the only jewish kid at that school. My teacher didn’t care that there was a swastika drawn on a desk in sharpie. It’s gotten to a point that i’m too scared to tell people i’m even jewish

    • That is very sad, Leah. Unfortunately there is still a good amount of antisemitism and hate in the world. I know the feeling of being afraid to tell someone I am Jewish. Hopefully one day we can see change.

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  6. Coming from a romance writing Latter Day Saint I’m appalled at the behavior of those children. In other words an explanation was in to those children and perhaps a beat down.

    I’ll tell you I’ve been bullied. I’ve shed the tears but as an adult most don’t mess with me. I just have a personality that’s confrontational and I’m literally a “big girl” in my wedge and heel wearing 6’0 kind of way.

    However, I’ve got 4 children that I raise as Latter Day Saints. Will they be as adults. I hope so but it’s their choice. I also have Wiccan friends, Jewish friends, Baptist friends, Pagan friends, Homosexual friends, family and friend of other races and I love them. And I teach my children that as well.

    Thank you for sharing and eventually perhaps I can count you as a new online friend.


  7. Bri – It was the mid 1970’s and certainly there was a different mentality for some religions. Having studied what was being taught to some in these religious schools, I have a better understanding of what these very young children might have been told.

    It doesn’t say it is forgotten, but certainly the blame might be outside of their realm. I am happy to say, through the teaching of tolorance, I believe a lot has changed for most western religious schools, except for maybe the most radical of them. I agree with you that we can love and accept people of all religions, as long as that is reciprocated and shared. Thank you for commenting.

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