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A Jewish Response to the Paris Murders

Rabbi David Stav

The terrorist attacks in Paris in which four Jews were murdered at a Kosher supermarket near Paris remind us once again of the simple fact that Jews need to be in their natural home in the State of Israel. Government leaders appropriately call on French Jews to make Aliya to Israel because their place is here. The truth must not be concealed; in Israel the security situation will not improve dramatically in the near future, the number of Jews killed in terrorist attacks over the past year in Israel is over ten times the number of Jews killed in Europe during the past year due to anti-Semitic attacks. Nevertheless, as Zionist Jews we believe that the place for Jews is in Israel and not in the Diaspora.

Terrorist attacks are a good reason to renew the call to return to Zion, while not necessarily a logical justification for making aliyah. It is likely that we will soon start to see a few thousand Jews packing their belongings and making their way to our country, coming home. Welcome home. Unfortunately, the majority will remain there; in France, Europe, the United States and other Diaspora countries. Each individual has their own reasons, whether they are economic, elderly parents needing support, secure jobs and other human reasons. Do we have anything to say to them? Should those who do not make aliyah tomorrow feel left alone to their fate? Are they doomed not to be a partner in the formation of future of the Jewish people? Millions of Jews around the world want to do something to express their deep connection to the Jewish people and its historical mission even if they don't make aliyah tomorrow. They feel the need to show solidarity, pain and care, but don't know how.

These days, some people prefer to hide their Jewishness until the storm subsides. Even if they usually go to synagogues or Jewish community centers they will postpone it for another time. I ask them to do the opposite. Now is the time for everyone to emphasize their connection to the Jewish people. Even those who do not regularly attend synagogue should visit it in order to express solidarity with the Jewish people throughout the generations and what they represent. Those who have a general supermarket in their neighborhood should pop into the Jewish supermarket to make a statement, "I'm here, I exist and I have no intention of going away". Jews who have not made a point of sending their children to Jewish education for all kinds of reasons might re-think if he ought to strengthen Jewish education in various ways. The main goal of the recent wave of terror is to intimidate us from who and what we are. Our answer is to deepen our faith in ourselves, who we are, and what we represent.

Wed, February 8 2023 17 Shevat 5783