Odd Mom Out creator and star Jill Kargman had a horrible spring that involved having a preventative mastectomy and dealing with some unpleasant anti-Semitic events at her son’s school. She explains that while the surgery was painful and the scars took time to heal, it was nothing in comparison to working through the overt anti-Semitism at a place that once felt like home.
Page Six reports that the events of the spring moved Kargman and her son Fletch, 11, to tears, and she realized that she couldn’t sit on the sidelines and let the matter be handled by someone else. The Bravo star says that she thought that the pain of her drains would be the most pain she would have to work through, but things got worse.
“The drains from my double mastectomy were flowing with a heinous Hawaiian Punch-esque blood-and-body-fluid combo, and I was in tremendous pain. Little did I know I was about to be in so much more, but in a shadowed fog of a worse anguish: The amorphous, harder-to-heal ache of emotional pain.”
Kargman thought Fletch was tearing up due to her surgery, but instead, it was about a disturbing incident at his New York City prep school.
Fletch explained that someone at school had said something hateful at lunch.
“A boy in his class blithely said, ‘I’m a fan of Hitler! God sent Hitler down to kill the Jews because they nailed Jesus to the cross!'”
Jill Kargman said she sent the headmaster a message detailing her disappointment and was sent an email in return with one word: “Courage!” What did that mean? she asked. She said she is ashamed to say that she let the school handle it initially and didn’t go in, guns blazing. She checked back in and told the school was handling it, and they had decided the student would miss two field trips (his punishment was amended and he only missed one).
So Kargman wrote a thoughtful opinion piece for Tablet Magazine about the mix of sadness, anger, and pain, both from her surgery and from the idea that this particular form of racism has become normalized.
She recalled another incident where a Jewish student said that he had gone to sleep-away camp the prior summer, another student called out “was it Auschwitz?”
Kargman explained that her son wanted nothing to do with the student she calls “Rolf.”
“My son asked his teacher if he could move desks because he didn’t want to sit so close to Rolf from The Sound of Music who believes my family belongs in an oven. The teacher obliged, and we all combat-crawled to summer vacation, each drop-off with a lump in my throat.”
Kargman says that while recovering from surgery, she thought of a creative way to move the ball down the field. She went to a bookstore and bought several books about the Holocaust for “Rolf” and his family.
“I can’t carry anything because of my surgery, so my friend dropped it off in the Park Avenue lobby of Rolf’s family. The uniformed doorman with gold epaulets said he’d whisk it upstairs. I had affixed a card to the package that read, ‘We thought this would prove valuable reading for your family. Best, the Kargmans.’ I never heard from them.”
Her mother, whose family hid in France during the war, said that Rolf’s family probably threw the books out. It was a small step for Kargman, but it made her feel better.
She explains that something else that soothed her soul was pulling Fletch out of his school and enrolling him in a new place for 5th grade in Greenwich Village. Kargman says that she saw a rainbow flag in the lobby of the new middle school.
“There was a rainbow flag in the lobby left over from Pride month, which you would never see at our old school. I knew our family was home. But what if I’d lived in a small town with only one school? I would have nowhere to go, which is why we need to make every child feel protected from this poisonous lava oozing across the nation.”