It was a Boiling Hot Sauna! – Chief Rabbi Jacobs

September 10, 2021

It was a boiling hot sauna!
This week we are in the days of Selichot, days of preparation for the Jamiem Noraim, the Days of awe, preceding the festival of the Jewish New Year.
Awe is of great importance, because if there is a lack of ‘awe’, a society just goes in the wrong direction. This thought came to my mind when I was present in Westerbork, former Dutch deportationcamp to welcome the cyclists who had participated in “Back to Westerbork”. Tears welled up in my eyes. All young people who had made the journey from Auschwitz to Westerbork, én route had visited the various concentration camps, other places of horror and were now back in Westerbork. Awe! Lack of awe can lead to anarchy. But submitting to a wrong authority can lead to what happened in WWII. Eighty percent of my family ended up in the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Sobibor via Westerbork! And now some 70 young people were cycling there, giving a stern warning about the dangers of submission to a wrong authority. Young people from Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. To my right a German Minister, to my left the ambassador of Poland and the King’s Commissioner in the province of Drenthe was also emphatically present, Mrs Jetta Klijnsma. What a powerful woman! I was delighted and grateful that my speech and the sounds of the shofar were clearly heard and penetrated. As I sit here typing, I feel a lump in my throat. I would like to embrace all those cyclists with gratitude for their great performance and especially for the hard demonstration. Yes, every morning in these days before the Awe-inspiring days of Jewish New Year I get up earlier to say extra prayers, but this gathering was all encouragement and awe-inspiring. A hot shower! I also felt that warm shower this morning in Ede where a meeting was organized by a group of faithful Christians.
In October 2020, representatives of various denominations at the Israeli embassy in The Hague had pleaded guilty for the churches’ negligence towards Jews before, during and after World War II. Now that antisemitism is unfortunately on the rise again, the right question has arisen as to what attitude the churches will adopt at the beginning of the 21st century. Therefore, representatives of churches organized an appeal meeting to speak on this subject. Speakers included Israel’s ambassador, Z.E.N. Gilon and my person. It was clear that those present are pro-Israel. But it also became clear, and I myself have expressed this very emphatically, that the love for Israel is diminishing among the church youth. This concerns me, a concern shared by those in attendance. And yet the symposium was a hot shower, so hot shower number two. I experienced the third shower on Urk, a former island, which is know for its love and support for Israel. In the Town Hall, the ambassador of Israel, two representatives of Christians for Israel and the undersigned, were received by the mayor and his aldermen. Why were we at the Town Hall? From 14:00 to 22:00 there was a magnificent afternoon and evening for ‘The entrepreneurship platform of Christians for Israel’ on Urk.  Of course the ambassador was present again, whom I met there for the third time that day. In the afternoon, the 180 attendees were split in two. Group one was given a tour of the fishing company DaySeaDay and group two was shown around the alleys of Urk. More than €140,000 was raised that evening for the construction of a youth center in Jerusalem. What warmth, what friendship, what enthusiasm and what a honor and how unique that I, as Chief Rabbi, could be a part of such a gathering. Music, a Zoom connection with Israel, a dinner (for Blouma and for me kosher of course) and inspiring speeches. But if you expect me to call this evening the third hot shower, you are wrong! It was not a hot shower, but a boiling hot sauna!


During the corona time, Chief Rabbi Jacobs keeps a diary for the Jewish Cultural
Quarter. NIW publishes these special documents on https://niw.nl/category/dagboek/

Additional Articles

Auschwitz EJA Conference

The upcoming EJA conference scheduled to take place in Krakow is just a fortnight away, with its primary focus honing in on the disconcerting surge of anti-Semitism in Europe that has been escalating since the 7th of October. The imminent gathering carries immense significance as it provides a platform for us to collectively confront and address this troubling trend. 🌐 Distinguished speakers and influential stakeholders from various backgrounds will assemble to engage in thoughtful deliberations on these pressing and critical matters.

Attack at German Synagogue During Sukkot Raises Anti-Semitism Fears

BERLIN — A man wearing army fatigues and wielding a shovel attacked and badly injured a Jewish student coming out of a synagogue in Hamburg on Sunday, less than a year after an assault on a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle turned deadly.

Security guards and police officers deployed to the Hamburg synagogue, where people were marking the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, swiftly subdued and arrested a 29-year-old man, whose name the authorities did not disclose. The suspect was carrying a piece of paper with a swastika in his pocket, the German news agency DPA reported.

The 26-year-old victim, who was wearing a kipa, or skullcap, when he was attacked, suffered grave head wounds and was taken to a hospital, the police said.

“This is not a one-off case, this is vile anti-Semitism and we all have to stand against it,” the German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, wrote on Twitter.

Germany has seen the number of anti-Semitic crimes nearly double in the past three years. Last year alone, the government recorded 2,032 anti-Semitic crimes, culminating in the attack on the synagogue in Halle on Oct. 9. In that attack, a gunman tried and failed to force his way in during services for Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, and then killed two people elsewhere.

The man arrested in Halle, Stephan Balliet, 28, is currently facing trial and has spoken openly in court about his hatred not only of Jews but also of Muslims and foreigners, and of being influenced by a far-right extremist attack against two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed 51 people last year

Last month, Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her concern about the rise in anti-Semitism in Germany, warning in a speech to the Central Council of Jews that it is a reality “that many Jews don’t feel safe and respected in our country.”

“Racism and anti-Semitism never disappeared, but for some time now they have become more visible and uninhibited,” the chancellor said, citing the attack in Halle as an example of “how quickly words can become deeds.”

In Halle a year ago, the congregation inside the synagogue only narrowly escaped a massacre. The door of the synagogue had been locked and withstood the clumsily built explosives meant to blow it open. In his rage the gunman later trained his weapon on other random targets in the city.

Following Sunday’s attack, Jewish organizations in Germany and beyond urged the government to increase protection and focus on long-term strategies to stamp out anti-Semitism.

“I am saddened to learn that once again, this time on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, a German Jewish community is confronting a violent, anti-Semitic act of terror,” Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, said in a statement. “We must ask ourselves, and German local and national authorities must address the question — why does this keep happening? Why is anti-Semitism thriving?”

“The German government must take responsibility in strengthening education so that the next generation understands that hatred of any kind is never permissible,” Mr. Lauder added. “The long-term viability of Jewish life in Germany depends on it.”

Why Do Jews Have To Be Murdered For You To Admit Anti-Semitism Is Real?

For the second time this year, a white supremacist marched into a synagogue and shot it up. On the six-month anniversary of the deadly shooting in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, a copycat inspired by that attack marched into the Chabad of Poway and opened fire.
In the wake of the horrific attack, many were the forceful condemnations of hate. I’ve read meaningful, painful expressions of solidarity.
But one disturbing phrase kept popping up. Everyone from Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris, Republican Senator Tim Scott, Democratic Representative Ted Lieu, and even Jewish writers and activists felt the need to announce: “anti-Semitism is real.”
Hearing this didn’t make me feel better. It made me feel worse.
Of course, anti-Semitism is real. That should go without saying. According to the Anti-Defamation League, over one billion people in the world harbor anti-Semitic attitudes. These hateful thoughts are leading to real atrocities; 2017 was plagued by 1,986 anti-Semitic hate crimes, plus a march where hundreds of white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis came together to chant that “Jews will not replace us.”

This problem isn’t confined to South Carolina. I went to high school in New York and college in Los Angeles; both of the buildings where I went to school have been branded with spray-paint swastikas.
When the Chabad of Poway was attacked, American Jews hadn’t gone six months since a white supremacist last stormed into a synagogue and killed the Jews inside. We hadn’t gone a full day since The New York Times had to apologize for publishing an anti-Semitic cartoon.
I shouldn’t be able to roll out these statistics and offenses off the top of my head. But I, like most Jews I know, am constantly forced to “prove” that my community is under siege.
Every time I speak up about anti-Semitism, I’m gaslit by people who deny it exists. They even go so far as to accuse me of fabricating false allegations of hate in bad faith.
In other words, not only is there a furious spike in hatred against Jews in this world; there is also a ferocious movement to deny that it is happening.
Jews no longer just face a fringe squad of maniacs who pretend the Holocaust was a hoax; anti-Semitism denial is a widespread epidemic.
This morning, my mother told me that she’s too afraid to step into a temple again. She has good reason to panic. Lori Gilbert Kaye, the woman who was shot dead in Poway, is right around her age. She left behind a daughter who’s mine. They could have been us; in some ways, they were.
Instead of crying with my mother, I spent tonight regurgitating statistics, pointing to today’s tragedy as evidence that our panic isn’t paranoia, that it shouldn’t take Jews getting murdered for people to recognize anti-Semitism.
But it does. So every time an anti-Semitic tragedy strikes, I feel compelled to broadcast it as evidence of the atrocities Jews face. I’m not the only one who so feels that way. Even Audrey Jacobs, a close friend of Kaye who expressed her loss in a Facebook post, took the time to repeat “anti-Semitism is real” in its final lines.
We wouldn’t be compelled to state that “anti-Semitism is real” if people weren’t actively declaring that it wasn’t.
Like Jacobs, I mourn for Kaye, who was executed for the crime of being a Jew. I mourn for my entire community, who don’t feel safe in our own houses of faith or supported, neither by our President nor by the social justice organizations that oppose him. But I also mourn for our ability to process our pain privately and on a personal level.
Anti-Semitism has become so normalized that we have to paint the picture of Jew-hatred with fresh Jewish blood. There’s no time to grieve. We’re forced to immediately turn every act of anti-Semitism into a teaching moment. When the world offers their condolences, Jews utilize the brief attention from being murdered to shout out “See? We weren’t making it up!”
Hatred of Jews is palpable, widespread, and increasingly lethal.
The people who need to see Jewish corpses on the ground to believe “anti-Semitism is real” are part of the problem.
Ariel Sobel is a nationally-recognized writer-director, activist, and TED speaker. Follow her on Twitter @arielsobelle.
This story “Why Do Jews Have To Be Murdered For You To Admit Anti-Semitism Is Real?” was written by Ariel Sobel. and was publish on Forward

Lighting Chanukah candles with the Estonian PM

Rabbi Menachem Margolin:

“The story of Chanukah teaches us that the Jewish people did not win the battle because they were the stronger, but because G-d saw that they were fighting for their beliefs with all their heart.

G-d created the world and everything in it. He also created the different conflicts in it.

Therefore what we should take from this fact is that if conflict or challenges are given to us in order to test us or to strengthen our resolve.

We are therefore wiser if we recognise that we should not run away from challemges but fight them and win, and in doing so we can look for more and more miracles like the one that happened at this time of Chanukah.

Dear Prime Minister, in our days, where we are experiencing a lot of racism, anti-Semitism and hatred we should not be frightened by these challenges either. Because if we will all fight it constantly, eventually our way will win.

Chag Shameach”

Additional Communities
United Kingdom
Ukraine
Turkey
Schweiz
Switzerland
Sweden
Spain
Slovenia
Slovakia
Serbia
Russia