Photo:Holocaust Memorial, Berlin
I can’t claim to know how all of you are feeling after this difficult summer. I speak from the heart when I say that my thoughts have not strayed from the Jewish community as we faced the most heinous anti-Semitism documented since the 1930s. As we heard yells of “Heil Hitler,” saw our synagogues fire-bombed, our community verbally and physically attacked.
We’ve been through trying times, and though we have seen many individuals rise to the occasion, there has been a gaping void where our leaders ought to have stood strong.
But I am optimistic about our future.
In light of these anti-Semitic events, an opportunity arises for European Jewry to rethink their position as Europeans and as Jews. To encourage, support, and call on their leadership and systems of diplomacy to greater fit their needs. To be rid of those who use our empowering Jewish organizations only for their own gain, instead of as active representatives for our communities.
This is a chance to build a better future; with dynamic and involved strategies to counter anti-Semitism, and close bonds to all nations the Jewish people live in.
Let’s deal with the problems within our own organizations first, so we will be able to face the major issues our communities contend with. Let’s hold out leaders to their promises, to stand strong on the issues we’re facing.
It is clear to me, as I lament the inaction of European Jewish groups like the Federacion de Comunidades Israelitas de Espana or the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organizations in Belgium – that it is time to call out leadership to account for their inaction. There’s a great deal of potential within our various communities, and the time has come to turn that potential into reality.