In an op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times, Michael Douglas discusses embracing his Judaism late in life and the anti-Semitism he’s encountered because of his heritage (his father, Kirk Douglas is Jewish, but his mother was not).
He begins by describing a disturbing incident involving his son, Dylan:
Last summer our family went to Southern Europe on holiday. During our stay at a hotel, our son Dylan went to the swimming pool. A short time later he came running back to the room, upset. A man at the pool had started hurling insults at him.
“My first instinct was to ask, “Were you misbehaving?’
“No,’ Dylan told me through his tears.
I stared at him. And suddenly I had an awful realization of what might have caused the man’s outrage: Dylan was wearing a Star of David.
After calming him down, I went to the pool and asked the attendants to point out the man who had yelled at him. We talked. It was not a pleasant discussion. Afterward, I sat down with my son and said: “Dylan, you just had your first taste of anti-Semitism.”
Douglas goes on to discuss his own religious upbringing, or lack thereof. However, after Dylan began “developing a deep connection to Judaism,”; Douglas found himself reconnecting with his father’s religion.
“With little knowledge of what it meant to be a Jew, I found myself passionately defending the Jewish people,”; he writes. “Now, half a century later, I have to defend my son. Anti-Semitism, I’ve seen, is like a disease that goes dormant, flaring up with the next political trigger.”;