When it comes to the subject of Jews in today’s Europe, I am pretty jaded. Yes, I forward articles and commentary to family and friends. The news so percolates with these stories I know I am a Johnny-One-Note. Still, the Atlantic article Claire blogged about made me very sad, because, despite all the possibilities, they seem so… doomed. And, sooner rather than later.
There is no small amount of pride involved in their staying. As the article mentions, most French Jews are from North Africa. They kind of skip quickly over it, but while the world “knows” all about the displaced Muslim Arabs in the wake of the 1948 war, remarkably few know of the Jews who lived in Muslim lands. They had lived the degrading sting of being the “Dhimmi” all of their lives.
When the Jews of Israel were NOT driven into the sea by victorious Muslim armies in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, etc. Eight Hundred Fifty Thousand Jews of the Muslim countries, some of whom had resided there for nearly two thousand years, were unceremoniously stripped of their citizenship, homes, businesses and possessions and driven out. From Morocco to Iran. Running for their lives.
No wonder they are hardened to being driven out, especially by Muslim thugs, or their Jew-Hating native European soul-mates. It is insulting in the extreme. A very raw nerve.
Many settled in France and became instant assets. A huge population of Persian Jews lives in Los Angeles, bringing traditions of hard work, deep-rooted ethics, and firm loyalty to their new homes. This is the way of the Jews in the Diaspora. And many of these Jews settled in Israel and became instant assets there too.
And, to blow that “Note” (a blowing a shofar, if you will) again… A story closer to home:
My son and his family also live here in the USA, in a modern, economically stable metropolis. They live in the “nice” part of town. This is not a town known for Jews. A local rabbi in the neighborhood runs a very small orthodox congregation out of his house.
A few years ago a neighbor alleged that having those Jews there, all in one place, for a couple of hours every Saturday, and on their weird holidays, was driving down the property values. He sued. It cost the congregation monies they did not have to spare, and shoved off plans for a more permanent home for the congregation. The neighbor lost (but, not really, right?).
Then the Homeowner’s Association alleged much the same thing and also sued. More money picked from a little shul too small and too poor to even rent a building to pray in. The building fund depleted with legal fees, the plans pushed off again. The HOA lost (but, not really, right?).
Recently, the City itself decided to joint the party and sued the little shul, too.
The other day a SWASTIKA was found painted on a car near the little shul-in-a-house.
How soon until people start getting beaten up walking to synagogue? How soon until a mason jar of jellied gasoline crashes through a front window during the Passover Seder? Opening the door and calling for the Prophet Elijah in one breath and screaming as your family burns alive in the next?
In the end, there is only ONE place where a Jew belongs. If enough landsmen “Make Aliyah” (literally, To Ascend) to their own home, they may face enemies near and far, but they will have more security to live their lives and fulfill their destiny than anywhere else on earth. http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/706162/jewish/Translation.htm
So I will sound that one “Note” again.
Jew. Shma! Have you packed your bags?