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Julianna is an Emmy award-winner and helped to found the Holocaust Educator School Partnership.

With antisemitism on the rise, the need for Holocaust education has never been more important. That’s where Emmy award-winner Julianna Margulies comes in. In 2022, Julianna helped to found the Holocaust Educator School Partnership, an initiative to help train undergraduate and graduate students in how to teach about the Holocaust in the classroom.

In this episode, Julianna Margulies sits down with host Jay Ruderman to discuss the misconceptions and challenges facing the Jewish community today, and what allyship means to her.

Today, we learn how Julianna Margulies went from Emmy award-winning actress to co-founding an initiative that trains students how to teach about the Holocaust in the classroom.

Listen to the latest episode of All About Change as Julianna discusses how she went from Emmy award-winning actress to co-founding an initiative that trains students how to teach about the Holocaust in the classroom.

To learn more about the Holocaust Educator School Partnership, click here.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Julianna Margulies, Guest:
I didn’t want to shame anyone or put anyone on the defensive. I wanted to just explain something that I realized that night when I got home and looked at my husband and I was like, “No one is hurtful. None of my friends are.” They have no idea why their silence is so hurtful.

Jay Ruderman, Host:
Hi, I am Jay Ruderman and welcome to All About Change, a podcast showcasing individuals who leverage the hardships that have been thrown at them to better other people’s lives.

Montage:
This is all wrong.

I say put mental health first because if you don’t…

This generation of America has already had enough.

I stand before you, not as an expert, but as a concerned citizen.

Jay Ruderman:
Julianna Margulies often plays powerful characters on screen, women who don’t back down from a challenge and speak their minds. The woman behind the scenes is no different.

Julianna Margulies:
I think of myself as someone who wants the world to be a better place, and someone who grew up with a family saying, “When you see something, you say something and you always fight for the little guy.”

Jay Ruderman:
That dedication to speaking up is one that’s never wavered, even in the face of horror.

Julianna Margulies:
I was horrified, devastated, scared. It felt surreal. Just hearing about it made me… I just was weeping. It was a nightmare, a nightmare that I feel like we’re all still in.

Jay Ruderman:
Even before the October 7th attacks, Julianna had committed herself to broadening Holocaust education in the United States, her own means of combating the rise in antisemitism.

Julianna Margulies:
It’s still shocking to me to know that I can say something and it makes a difference in someone’s life that severely, and I’m grateful for that. I will use it to the good as best I can and to teach.

Jay Ruderman:
Julianna, thank you so much for being my guest on All About Change. I am really excited to speak to you. Let’s start with your childhood. You had a very diverse and interesting childhood growing up in New York, Sussex, England, Paris, and then New Hampshire. Can you tell us what it was like with your upbringing?

Julianna Margulies:
If I were to sum it up, I would say that had my parents been married and I had been going to all these countries with my parents together and not torn apart away from my father, I think it would’ve been exciting and a little bit exotic and interesting. But because my mother and father were divorced, to be in different countries all the time, I felt a little bit like a gypsy, a little nomad, no belonging, and it felt a little lonely because I always had to reinvent myself. I never fit in anywhere. I was the American girl in England. I was the English girl in America. I never had the right clothing for the school uniform. My mother was just a sort of a free spirited hippie woman who felt like we’d figure it out. In a strange way, as an adult now I actually see some of it and think, oh, I had to fend for myself and I had to learn. Those are good tools to give to children.

Jay Ruderman:
What I was going to ask you is do you think that your upbringing helped shaped you into entering into a career as an actress?

Julianna Margulies:
Absolutely. I mean, when I really started writing about it, I realized writing is very therapeutic and it really helps you uncover things about yourself that you always knew were lurking there, but didn’t quite have the wherewithal to see it. As I was writing about always putting on someone else’s shoes in someone else’s country, in someone else’s school, I kind of was trained at a very young age to be an actress because I was always being someone else. When it came time to do it as a profession, honestly in the beginning I felt like it wasn’t a noble enough profession because my grandmother was such a trailblazer and had been one of the first women to ever graduate NYU Law School in 1924, and started so many things.

She was a suffragette without having to march in the streets. She just lived it. She never took no for an answer. She just found a different way to do her life. “Okay, you’re not going to accept women. I’ll start the Women’s Bar Association of the Bronx.” I wanted to follow in her footsteps. But when I got to college and took acting classes, it was the first time, my first play my freshman year, this curtain went up and for the first time in my life felt like I belonged somewhere. I was home.

Jay Ruderman:
It was natural.

Julianna Margulies:
It was that strong, yeah.

Jay Ruderman:
Being from Boston, I just want to ask you about New Hampshire. I saw an interview that I think you did with Seth Meyers when you came from England and you’re in New Hampshire and you had a teacher saying, “Ya tardy.”

Julianna Margulies:
Mrs. Lombardi.

Jay Ruderman:
Right.

Julianna Margulies:
Yeah.

Jay Ruderman:
And you’re like, “What?” Tell me about why New Hampshire. That must’ve been a real culture shock.

Julianna Margulies:
It was such a culture shock. Well, my middle sister and I had been living in England with my mother. My eldest sister was in New York, she was a ballerina, so she was studying at the School of American Ballet, living with my father on 89th Street on the East Side. We just kept begging my mother, “Please, we have to move back to America. We have to move back to America.” I missed my sister, I missed my father. My mother was a teacher and she got a job in Wilton, New Hampshire, and so we ended up in Wilton, New Hampshire, which was not really what we were hoping for. We were hoping to move back to New York. So it was a culture shock to me, not only because of it being so far away from New York City, although I would try to get to New York City on weekends if I could, but also because it was just a different world.

It was flannel shirts and blue jeans. I remember my girlfriend, Shauna, the first time we were talking and she said, “Jeez and crow.” I said, “What? Jeez and crow?” And she explained to me, that’s how they say Jesus Christ, “jeez and crow,” but to me it was a different language. Mrs. Lombardi, who was my Latin teacher, and she was from Boston, she told me I was “tady.” I didn’t know what that meant. I really didn’t know what “tady” meant. And she said, “You’re tady, T-A-I-D-Y.” And I remember going home that day and looking at my mother going, “We might’ve left England, but I have no idea what anyone’s saying in this part of the world.” It took a while. Within a year I too was wearing flannel shirts and blue jeans and Timberland boots. Kids are resilient and they learn to fit in, and I ended up loving that school.

Jay Ruderman:
I want to get back to your grandmother because your grandmother from what I’ve read, was a very special person, and as you said, a trailblazer. What impact do you think she had on you?

Julianna Margulies:
Because I’m the youngest, I’m the youngest of three, you have to sort of fight for your place in the family when you’re the youngest. The advantage of being the youngest is that no one’s really paying attention, and the disadvantage is that no one’s really paying attention. My eldest sister was so much like my Great Aunt Marley and my middle sister was sort of a cross between my grandfathers, and I got… My grandma Henrietta Margulies, her family descended from Austria. They were Austrian Jews and I got her green eyes and her wide cheekbones. Not that I liked that as a kid. I wanted to… My Aunt Marley was very tall and she had blue eyes like my eldest sister. But I took after my grandmother and she was also very athletic. My eldest sister was already a ballerina, and my middle sister was already a musician, so I was the athlete.

I had to find my own path that wasn’t related to them. I realized at a very young age that my grandmother Henrietta, her path was much more the path I wanted to walk in that she was a feminist before feminism was a word, and she was also incredibly smart. I truly don’t believe I had the brain to be a lawyer. I’m so grateful I got to play one on TV for as many years as I did. But when I got to college and really thought I was going to be a lawyer and started taking pre-law, I didn’t care about the small print in all the contracts. It just bored me. I realized I just didn’t have that. I think what I do have of my grandmother’s is that incredible sense of responsibility. I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility, which I think she carried on her shoulders her whole life.

Jay Ruderman:
Wow. Well, I was also very close to my grandmother who had a tremendous impact on my life, so I really identify with that. As a lawyer, I want to tell you just abuse you of any notion, it’s not that difficult. Let’s talk a little bit about your acting career and how you got started in ER. I heard you tell a story about George Clooney and how he convinced you to stick around and give ER a chance because you might become a regular.

Julianna Margulies:
Yeah, I mean talk about fate. That was an unbelievable time in my life because I was broke and living in a five floor walkup, and I’d done this pilot with the original cast of ER and had such a good time, but I was a guest star in the pilot and my character died. I got on a plane and I went home back to New York. At the time, I had done a couple of episodes of a show called Homicide Life on the Street with Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson, and I had played opposite Ned Beatty. I got home from doing the pilot and Tom Fontana called and said, “We want to make you a series regular on the show.” And it shot in Baltimore, which meant I could basically stay in New York. I said, “Amazing, thank you.” Homicide Life on the Street was a great show.

So I said, “Yes, please.” I needed to pay my rent. Right after I said yes, I came home and there was a voice message from George Clooney saying, “Listen, I’m hearing from producers that your character tested really high and none of the audiences like that you died. So don’t take another job.” I remember thinking like, well, that’s a big if. I died in the pilot, how are they going to… And so I called Tom and I said, “I don’t know what to do.” Tom Fontana. I said, “I can’t look a gift horse in the mouth and say no to you, but at the same time, I just don’t know what to do.” He said, “There’ll always be a part here for you. Take the chance.” And I did. A week later, they called and said, “Come on out.”

Jay Ruderman:
And that was the big break in your career.

Julianna Margulies:
That was my big break. Absolutely, yeah.

Jay Ruderman:
Julianna, we’re seven weeks out from October 7th, and I want to talk to you about that. First of all, tell me your memories when you first heard about the horrendous attack that Hamas perpetrated on Israel.

Julianna Margulies:
I was horrified, devastated, scared. It felt surreal. I think even before anyone started weighing in, just hearing about it made me… I just was weeping. It was a nightmare, a nightmare that I feel like we’re all still in.

Jay Ruderman:
I know we’re going to talk a little bit about the work that you’ve done on Holocaust education, but one thing that’s just been pulling at me this whole time because we all grew up with Never Again and teach about the Holocaust, but two weeks after October 7th happened, the world turned against the Jews and not just Israel, but what I’m experiencing, what I’m sure you’ve heard, is it’s not just anti-Israel, it’s anti-Jewish. Does teaching people about the Holocaust, does it still have relevancy when it seems like so quickly after the worst atrocities that have been perpetrated against Jews since the Holocaust that people can turn against the Jews? I’m trying to work that out and I’m wondering what you think about that.

Julianna Margulies:
It’s a great question and I’ll tell you, I started that program in 2021 after I had hosted a Holocaust remembrance special for CBS and saw how lacking the education of the Holocaust is in our country. At the time, only 19 out of 50 states taught Holocaust education.I was so distraught when I heard that and seeing the rise in antisemitism, especially after Trump had said there are good people on both sides in that Nazi rally in Charlottesville.

Donald Trump:
But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group… Excuse me, excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did.

Julianna Margulies:
I did a lot of research and I called Jonathan Greenblatt at the ADL, and I said, “There is a lack of Holocaust education in this country, and from what I know when Holocaust education is taught, antisemitism goes down.” He said, “It is 100% fact.” The same way when children in 7th grade, 8th grade, read The Diary of Anne Frank and can through literature, put themselves in someone else’s shoes, have empathy for that character, it’s the same. I was just reading this article in the Atlantic yesterday about parents need to stop raising children to be the smartest and start raising them to be the kindest and most empathetic. What happened to humanity? I do believe that with Holocaust education, we can teach the children.

Now, listen, I started this program not knowing what I was doing. I’m terrible at raising money. It is not in my wheelhouse, but I just thought one foot in front of the other and you figure it out. I can tell you that since October 7th, the amount of people who have contacted me, who I have never met before, to say to me, “We want to put money to this program. We want to get it spread out across America,” which was my original idea. I just had to start with small because that’s the only money I could raise. The idea is to bring this program across the country. We’re going to start with cities that have Holocaust museums because one of the things I think that is very gripping and really sets the seeds in children’s minds is that what we teach a class for an hour and then this is all for free, and then we bus the children to the museum so they can see for themselves all the facts of the Holocaust, Jewish life before the Holocaust, Jewish life during the Holocaust, Jewish life after the Holocaust.

They can see passports. We have over 40,000 artifacts there. It’s one of the biggest collections in the country. I think what it does is it plants a seed because we have to start young. For children to say when they grow up to a Holocaust denier, “No, it did happen. Let me explain to you,” for me what I’m trying to do, and I think we all need to get back to some level of humanity and kindness and understanding. For some reason when it is about Jewish people, there is this ridiculous trope that we are of something we are not, that the rest of the world seems to believe. And so how do we then change that narrative? How? One of the things I think that was so great for same-sex marriage was Will and Grace. One of the things that Will and Grace did for the LGBTQ Plus community was regular people across America got to see gay people as normal.

This isn’t a big deal. Within two years of that show, three years of that show airing, same-sex marriage was passed. And so I think what I would like… There’s so much anger, all these riots and people spewing things, they have no idea what they’re saying. I think education for me is the only way forward to bring awareness, and not just for the Jewish causims, for everything, but I’m championing that because I’m seeing such a rise in antisemitism that my girlfriend who lives next door won’t let her son take the subway anymore because he wears a Jewish star and she’s scared he’ll get beat up. How can we be living like this now? It’s ridiculous.

Jay Ruderman:
The program that you started is called the Holocaust Educator School Partnership, and my understanding is that you’re educating teachers about how to teach the Holocaust.

Julianna Margulies:
Well, so what we do is we actually… It’s a paid internship program, so applicants apply. College and graduate students apply. We pay them a certain amount of money. We give them eight days intensive training on how to teach the Holocaust. They go into classes from 7th to 12th grade and teach one hour of Holocaust education. A perfect example of this, because someone said to me, “Well, why are you teaching that in New York? I mean New York’s full of Jews.” That is not true. I mean, it does have a large Jewish population. But so one of my interns, and they’re not all Jewish, my interns, they’re of every ethnicity and one girl, she was one of my first interns. We started with two because I funded the first year and then it started taking off and we had six and I started raising funds and then now we have 10, so it’s getting bigger and bigger.

This little boy in the Bronx, which is maybe a 20-minute subway ride from my apartment, 7th grade, 12 years old, after a class, he asked her, and this is not his fault, he said, “Well, if 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, are there any living today?” That’s where we’re at. And that is, I don’t want to use the word ignorant, it’s just lack of education. This little boy, it’s not his fault, but the people who are teaching him have not made him aware that there are Jews in the world. It is important. The same way I want my son to learn about slavery, the same way I want him to learn about the Napoleonic Wars and World War I, and teach him everything about history because the adages, if you don’t learn it, history will repeat itself.

I think that was the most frightening part. No, October 7th was frightening, but the most frightening part of October 7th was the celebration after it. That to me was the most frightening part. What has happened to humanity?
Jay Ruderman:
I think there’s a huge issue on college campuses, and I have children who are in college right now where there’s not an understanding of the difference between free speech and hate speech. I think that that’s what schools are grappling with and not doing a very good job at. The other thing, you have a young child, I have children. Have you given any thought to social media and the fact that everyone has access to social media and lies can be spread very quickly and it can whip up hatred in a matter of hours? How do you handle social media? I mean, I’m sure you get a lot of stuff thrown at you, especially being outspoken on antisemitism.

Julianna Margulies:
“It’s amazing you speak out on antisemitism, without even mentioning anything but speaking out on antisemitism.” I came back from that variety summit and I had death threats just from speaking out on antisemitism. Nothing about Palestine or Israel, but most of its bots. When the FBI looked into it, it’s Qatar and Iranian bots that want to silence anyone who has some sort of a platform because they don’t want that around. I think social media is the devil, honestly. I mean, my son’s almost 16 now and he did not have a phone until he was 13. I was very strict about that. He is on TikTok, but literally for basketball and cooking, so he’s not… He finds social media to be silly, but I think boys are very different than girls. Instagram, all that stuff to him is just ridiculous.

But it also could be that we, I don’t know, shielded him from it so long that now it’s passe. I don’t know, but I think it’s truly evil. I see it with myself. I’m a grown woman, settled in my life, and I was never on social media until I wrote a book and Random House was shocked that I didn’t have a platform and asked me to join one. I said, “Well, what’s the lesser of all evils?” And they said, Instagram, but even that, my blood pressure goes up and I’m a fully formed human being. I can’t imagine what these teenagers are going through or college kids who are on it all day long.

Jay Ruderman:
You are a public figure. I’m just curious, you and your husband and you’re out there, and you said you received death threats. How do you keep yourself sane? How do you keep yourself away from really dangerous messages coming into your home?

Julianna Margulies:
First of all, I have stayed off of Instagram pretty much since the death threats started. If I post anything, I have my PR person do it. They have turned off comments and I’ve stayed off. I really don’t go on and I see my life improving. When I need to post something that I think is important, or for example, I adopted one of the hostages and I’ve become quite close with her family and when they send me things to post, I either give it to my publicist or I’ll quickly just post it, turn comments off, and then I don’t look at it. I protect myself that way. We never have the news on 24/7, ever. I read, and actually I’ve been really disappointed in the way some newspapers that I respected have been reporting on the war when they find out that actually Israel didn’t bomb that hospital, it was actually Hamas’ rocket backfiring.

The retraction is on the third page, but the damage is already done. There seems to be this constant… My thing in life, I just can’t bear injustice. I get crazy with injustice. I realized if I keep going down the rabbit hole, I’m just going to be angry all the time and I can’t live my life like that. It’s toxic. I read the things I think I should be reading. We watch PBS News Hour like old people, and I make my own opinions. I don’t get any of my news from social media ever.

Jay Ruderman:
Exactly, exactly. I mean, I know. I have a young child who TikTok has just had such an adverse impact on his life and it’s dangerous.

Julianna Margulies:
It’s very dangerous.

Jay Ruderman:
When do you think you first became an activist and when your platform grew, how did that change?

Julianna Margulies:
Gosh, it’s so interesting to hear you call me an activist. I never thought of myself as one. I truly never thought of myself as an activist. I think of myself as someone who wants the world to be a better place and someone who grew up with a family saying, “When you see something, you say something and you always fight for the little guy.” My dad was really into sports, but he never ever cared what team won. He just wanted a good game and he would always go for the underdog because that was more exciting for him. I grew up with that. He had such a moral compass and a true genuineness about life, what makes life good.

Jay Ruderman:
You say that you’d never thought of yourself as an activist, but you’ve never been afraid to speak out. As your platform grew, as your status grew as someone who is well-known and you’ve been successful, how has your speaking out changed?

Julianna Margulies:
What’s changed dramatically for me is I didn’t realize, and it could just be my naivete, because I’ve never been a celebrity. I’ve been quite a private person. I just happened to act on really big shows, and so that gave me a platform I didn’t really know I had. What I’ve noticed just since October 7th and speaking out against antisemitism is that it makes a big difference to a lot of people’s lives that I didn’t realize. The people who have reached out when I wrote this op-ed, just a letter to my non-Jewish friends to say why their silence was so difficult for us, and I really tried to write it out of understanding and compassion that they don’t understand our journey, so let me try and explain why your silence is so deafening.

I had no idea the reach. Now I’m starting to learn that my words actually reach people. I didn’t know it was that big, and I’m grateful to help in any way I can. It’s not that I don’t believe it. It’s just that it’s still shocking to me to know that I can say something and it makes a difference in someone’s life that severely. I’m grateful for that, and I will use it to the good as best I can and to teach. It’s just absolutely not the journey I thought I’d be walking, to be honest with you.

Jay Ruderman:
You have had such a successful career. I mean from ER, I’m going to leave out so many things, to The Good Wife. I am a huge, huge fan of The Morning Show and your character, Laura. I think that it’s superb. Your acting, I recommend it to anyone to watch the show on Apple TV. I want to talk about, you referenced the letter that you wrote in USA Today, and it’s such a powerful letter because it’s factual and the title is My Non-Jewish Friends, Your Silence on Antisemitism is Loud, but it’s a letter of love. You’re like, I love you. Your silence is hurtful. But I think that where you get to at the end of the letter is your experience is not my experience.

This is something I feel myself living through as a Jew whose family is going through this, and we feel a deep hurt that our people were attacked in an unprovoked manner. I was talking to someone the other day and I’m like, “How’s it going?” He’s like, “Well, I go to work.” And people are like, “How’s your weekend?” It’s like for a lot of people, they’re not experiencing what we are experiencing.

Julianna Margulies:
At all. It was shocking. I remember it was right after the Antisemitism Summit, I had to fly back to New York to do this reading that I had promised to show up at, and I was very raw still. It was October 10th or maybe 9th, and I remember walking in and everyone like, “Hey, how are you?” Smiles. I was like, “Not good.” “Why? What happened?” Literally people said that to me. In a weird way, it was a relief because that’s when I started writing the letter, and God bless USA Today, I wanted it to reach as many people as possible because I think people all over this country are really feeling… Jewish people are feeling hurt by their non-Jewish friends, and it doesn’t matter what age you are.

I know I’ve sent it to… My father-in-Law sent it out, and my uncle in-law sent it out. All these older Jews that I know had friends write back and say, “I’m so sorry I didn’t check in on you. I’m so sorry.” I’ve heard this from a lot of people. I just got a message today from a girlfriend of mine who’s like, “I just read your op-ed, and I’m so sorry. I think of you all the time, but I should have reached out.” I said, “That’s okay. You’re doing it now. You’re doing it now, and that’s what matters to me.” So I start the letter by saying, “I want to start by saying that I love you,” because I didn’t want it to be a shaming letter.

I didn’t want to shame anyone or put anyone on the defensive. I wanted to just explain something that I realized that night when I got home and looked at my husband and I was like, “No one is hurtful. None of my friends are. They have no idea why their silence is so hurtful.” And so I always feel like if you say something out of love, it is received much more openly than if you scold or get angry. People hear it better, hopefully.

Jay Ruderman:
Do you think that there’s a misconception that even though Jews are a tiny, tiny minority, as you write, 0.2% of the world’s population, but do you think that there’s a perception that Jews are not a minority, even though the numbers show that we’re a minority? Do you think there’s this misguided perception that we are part of the elite, part of the power structure of our society?

Julianna Margulies:
Yes. I think there’s a few things that… Look, this is my own personal opinion. I think one more confusing because we’re white. Our skin is in a different color, even though a lot of Jews are brown. But it’s confusing, I think because Jews have been literally persecuted since time immemorial, literally had to reinvent themselves, flee to other countries, run away from people who want them dead. They have had to be resourceful and clever and smart and “Okay, here I am now in this country, how do I make a living for my family?” Then they become successful in that country. This idea that Hollywood is owned by Jews, that it’s the Jews that are… Anytime a Jewish person is successful, no one’s saying this about other people who are successful. It’s only if it’s a Jew.

Then it becomes about money. Why is that? Is it because we were bankers in Italy? Where’s this coming from, these old tropes, these ideas of who Jews are? Someone had lashed out at me for speaking up on antisemitism saying, “You rich white bitch living in your mansion.” I’m like, “Hold your horses there, sweetheart. I was a waitress, a bartender, a coat check girl. I worked hard for where I am now. Why should I be now labeled as something other than a hardworking, successful human being? Why? Because I’m Jewish?” It doesn’t make any sense.

Jay Ruderman:
I think there’s also misconception. I mean, when I walk into synagogue and people there are black and people of color… I mean, my wife, her ancestors are from Iran and India. She does not look white. Half the Jews out there do not look white. But there’s so many of these tropes and these misconceptions. At this point in time, how is it in the entertainment industry? Have you come across antisemitism in your career?

Julianna Margulies:
I have not personally, no. I don’t know if you will come across that. Not on a set. Mind you, our strike just ended, so I haven’t been on a set since all of this happened. I’ll let you know. I don’t think that would happen. I think it’s more about the audience.

Jay Ruderman:
So you haven’t heard stories of other Jewish actors, comedians experiencing antisemitism in the industry?

Julianna Margulies:
Within the industry, I have not personally, no. I do know that there was a letter that I signed and a whole bunch of us signed just the same way we did with the Me Too movement and Black Lives Matter, which is all sets need to be a safe space for all creative, and tech people and crew, and we need to make sure that antisemitism is a part of that, that we are protecting everybody. There was a letter that went around about that, and rightfully so in this time. Because listen, I still live in a university sort of area in New York, and I walk my dog at night and look over my shoulder. I cannot believe I’m saying this to you in 2023.

And because of all my friends who have seen me and thanked me for speaking out on their behalf, they also say, “I hope you’re wearing a hat and glasses around New York.” I’m not going to live my life in fear at all. For the most part, people just come up and say, “Thank you so much. You said everything I wanted to say in that letter.” For the most part, it’s all positive, but there’s always the crazy who wants to make a statement by slashing someone’s throat. I just wish we could just tamper down this violence and show the truth of everything and calm down so we could go at this in a way that’s productive because it is not.

Jay Ruderman:
Yeah, I was in New York a few weeks ago with a couple of my kids visiting NYU and Columbia, and it was not so comfortable. I want to get back to there are other actors, Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer, Sasha Baron Cohen, following John Lubitz right now who’s very outspoken. People are speaking out. Debra Messing. They’re getting a lot of hate back. I mean, it seems like a lot of people in the industry, some people are taking this opportunity to speak out and to address antisemitism, and you are among the first and the loudest voice. But some people don’t. Some people are just sort of giving it a pass. As you said, we are often the canary in the coal mine. We’re not the last people that people are going to come after.

Julianna Margulies:
Yeah, it’s interesting to me. I don’t blame anyone who is afraid to speak out because until I spoke out, I didn’t know I was being brave. I didn’t see it that way. Then the cap was already off and it was too late. I was pretty shocked that I was getting death threats when I was talking about antisemitism. I try not to take it too seriously. I got shaken up a couple of times and that’s when I stopped going onto my Instagram, and God bless, I have this incredible group of fans that somehow through Instagram or whatever, they get to my assistant and they tell him, “Please, so-and-so’s be… Block them. Block them.” It’s like I have this army of incredible fans that alert my team and then they go and just block everybody. I figure that, oh, okay. I’m not on it, so it’s not touching me.

I wasn’t sleeping or eating for two weeks after October 7th. I could not sleep or eat. I just was a wreck. I thought social media makes it worse. Don’t look there. I just had to get back because me being sick isn’t going to help anybody. I just had to take care of myself and then I could get strong again and start speaking out in a way that I hope the non-haters at least will understand that it’s coming from a place of love. The only people that I detest are terrorists and conflating Palestinians with Hamas is what has gotten us into this mess. I take it all in stride and I go slow.

Then I also have days where I just can’t be out there in the world. I have to protect myself, and that’s what you do. I’m not really worried about it because I think I would feel worse if in five years or 10 years or if my son said to me on his wedding day, “Mom, remember that horrible time in October 7th? What did you do?” And I can say, “Let me tell you what I did. Let me show you what I did,” I would rather be able to say to him, “And I fought” than “I cowered.”

Jay Ruderman:
Well, Julianna, I want to thank you for speaking out and speaking out with a message of love, and trying to reach people and tell them about how we as Jews feel and how we feel insecure and threatened and that we’ve experienced something that is horrific that many of us never thought we would experience. No. I want to thank you for all the work that you’ve done and for using your voice, and I hope you’ll continue to do so. I want to thank you for being my guests on All About Change. I really appreciate your time.

Julianna Margulies:
Thank you. I loved being on it. Thank you so much.

Jay Ruderman:
With antisemitism on the rise, Julianna’s Holocaust education work is more important than ever. Anyone interested in working with the Holocaust Educators School Partnership can learn more at MJHNYC.org. We’ll also link to the USA Today op-ed we referenced during our conversation. That’s it for today’s episode. Today’s episode was produced by Kim Wong with story editing by Yochai Maital and Mijon Zulu.

To check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website AllAboutChangePodcast.com. If you like our show, spread the word, tell a friend or family member, or leave us a review on your favorite podcasting app. We would really appreciate it. All About Change is produced by the Ruderman Family Foundation. Special thanks to our production team at Pod People, David Zwick, Grace Pena, Morgane, Brian Rivers and Amy Machado. That’s all for now. I’m Jay Ruderman, and we’ll see you next time an All About Change.

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