Rabbi Attacked in Germany, But Finds a Sweet Spot

January 7, 2021

Chabad Rabbi Mendel Gurewitz was walking home from shul with his children in Offenbach, Germany when they were confronted by a man screaming antisemitic invective. But he found a sweet spot in the incident.
Algemeiner
A German rabbi warmly praised his fellow citizens in the city of Offenbach for rushing to his aid when he and his family were subjected to antisemitic abuse on New Year’s Day.
Rabbi Mendel Gurewitz, Director of Chabad Lubavitch of Offenbach Am Main, was walking home from synagogue with his children last Friday when they were confronted by a man screaming antisemitic invective.
Several witnesses to the assault immediately called the police, while others followed the assailant as he left the scene.
Police officers later arrested a 46-year-old man for sedition, hate speech and displaying symbols of far-right organizations banned under the German constitution.
Rabbi Gurewitz, who has faced antisemitic abuse on previous occasions, wrote in a post on Facebook that the experience on Friday had been “traumatic,” but that the response of witnesses to the attack had been exemplary.
“People intervened from every window, shouted at the aggressor, defended us, and notified the police,” he wrote. “Some left their homes and followed him on foot or by car. It was a sudden explosion of love and support.”
Uwe Becker — the antisemitism commissioner for the Hessian region — condemned the attack on Rabbi Gurewitz and his children, saying it was a worrying indication “that Jews cannot openly display their faith in public.”
Becker added that the witnesses who came to the rabbi’s assistance showed a determination “to protect their Jewish neighbors and not just allow hatred of Jews to manifest.”
“This is an important sign that everyone can do something against antisemitism,” Becker said.
Antisemitic attacks in Germany in 2019 increased by 13 percent on the previous year, with more than 2,000 incidents reported. Antisemitic conspiracy theories relating to the coronavirus pandemic mushroomed during 2020, leaving the Jewish community vulnerable to abuse and violence in both online environments and in the physical world.
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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”

COVID Diary- Reflections from Our Advisory Board Member Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (NL) writes a diary, on request of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam, which is published on the website of the NIW, the only Jewish Dutch Magazine. Rabbi Jacobs is the head of Inter Governmental Relationships at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. We will be regularly publishing a selection of his informative, sometimes light hearted, but always wise pieces.
For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl
Diary 7 Feb. 2021
“The attention for Israel is increasing in many Dutch Churches. Yet it can do a bit more. The Hersteld Reformed Church (HHK) has now once again put its vision on paper. The Church is called to expose anti-Semitism as hatred against the G-d of Israel, ”I read in the Reformed Daily.
At the end of the article, different Christian denominations reported their attitude towards Jews. What interested me, of course, was their attitude towards converting Jews and their views on replacement theology.
Just a brief explanation for my Jewish and less Christian-savvy Gentile diary readers:
Replacement theology proclaims that wherever in the Tanakh the Jewish people are mentioned, they should be replaced by “Christians.”
This theology has been the source of a great deal of anti-Semitism and persecution of Jews over the centuries. To briefly summarize an interesting article: the various denominations have different opinions about how to look at Jews and how they should or should not be converted. And that urge or desire to convert made me think on Sunday (the Christian day of rest!).
It is a fact that the urge to convert has led to millions of victims over the centuries. That replacement theology is therefore experienced as an extremely reprehensible act to me.
But how do I view a Christian who wants to convert me? Can I accept that? Obviously I will not be converted and will actively fight attempts to convert, but… Do I think the other should have the desire to convert me?
We Jews have it easy because we believe that Jews should serve the Eternal in a Jewish way, but Gentiles don’t.
The so-called Seven Noahide Laws apply to them. If the non-Jew lives according to these laws, but still a whole package, then that is fine. Then, I asked myself, will I try to convince secular Gentiles to abide by these laws? And shall I point so-called Messiah professing Jews to their error? And my answer is a clear “yes”.
But, I then asked myself, then I also do a mission! Look at Hanukkah when we publicly light the Menorah? That is not just any fun party. It has a clear message: bringing light to spiritual darkness! And why am I nagging when Christians want to convert us?
It was an interesting and fierce discussion with myself, but in the end I think I was right. I believe, I am even convinced, that every believing Christian would like to see me transition to Christianity.
I will never do that because 1: I will have lost my job as Chief Rabbi and 2: As a Jew I am rock solid in my faith and (unfortunately for the missionary) I will really not be able to get rid of it. But: how do I view that missionary, the urge to convert or, even if no conversion attempt is made, the phenomenon that, although I must now be left alone, there is the firm conviction that I will eventually see the “light”?
I came to the conclusion that I have no problem with this. Every person is allowed to think and believe as he likes. Every person may think of me that his way of life is the right one and the other is wrong. But the moment his faith gives or calls to kill the dissenters, to bribe them with money or to blackmail them spiritually, then it becomes unacceptable to me.
Incidentally, the conversion was completely snowed in by the media report that two drugs have been discovered in Israel that appear to cure corona patients. So, no vaccines, but medicines. The FD speaks of a “game changer”. I sincerely hope that it will become apparent very soon that it does indeed work and will thus create a gigantic global breakthrough. It is also great that Israel will provide that breakthrough. Makes me feel great and proud. But of course, it will also be a wonderful opportunity to confirm the conspiracy theories. Jews are guilty of corona and see the evidence: they are now going to make money on the drug again. Will the International Court of Justice in The Hague also interfere with this and will our pharmacies be raided immediately that do not mention “made in Israel” in their package insert? Because there will probably be a complaint or a UN resolution because perhaps one of the doctors who made the discovery is living in the “occupied territories”.
And if not, probably one of the patients who has been cured with one of these drugs. Or am I thinking too negative? Because also mobile phones, computers and many other medicines of global value and “made in Israel” have never been boycotted.
 

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CHIEF RABBI OF ARGENTINA VIOLENTLY BEATEN IN HIS HOME

The rabbi reportedly suffered serious injury in the attack and remains hospitalized.

 The chief rabbi of Argentina, Gabriel Davidovich, was severely beaten at his Buenos Aires home in the early hours of Monday morning, and has been hospitalized with “serious injuries” according to the capital’s Jewish Community Center (AMIA).
AMIA issued a statement on Monday saying that Davidovich, Argentina’s chief rabbi since 2013, was “beaten and savagely attacked by a group of strangers who entered his house,” at 2 o’clock in the morning.
Davidovich’s wife was tied up during the break-in and the assailants stole money and other possessions from the home, while telling him: “We know that you are the AMIA Rabbi,” according to AMIA’s statement.
The rabbi reportedly remains hospitalized. AMIA described the attack as “alarming” and called on the authorities to quickly investigate the assault against Davidovich and his wife.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the international community must act against antisemitic incidents in wake of the attack.
“I send wishes for a speedy recovery to the chief rabbi of Argentina, Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich, and his wife, who were brutally attacked,” he said in a statement. “We must not allow antisemitism to raise its head. I strongly condemn recent antisemitic incidents and call on the international community to act against [antisemitism].”
Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett sent his wishes to Davidovich for a speedy recovery and called on world leaders to stand up against antisemitism, emphasizing in particular the need for Argentina’s government to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice.
“Today, the leaders of the world in Europe, in South America [and] all over are failing in their responsibility to learn the lessons of the past,” Bennett said. “But unlike the past, today we have Israel, and every Jew around the world must know they have a home here: we are waiting. But for Jews who want to live in Argentina, or France, or England, or the US or anywhere, we are also here. We will stand up against antisemitism. A strong Israel is the only answer – our enemies should know [that] Jewish blood is not cheap.”
His words were echoed by other Israeli politicians across the political spectrum.
“We are together with you in the struggle against antisemitism: in Argentina, in France, or anywhere else where the darkness tries to hurt us,” Labor leader Avi Gabbay said in response to the attack.
Benny Gantz, head of the Blue and White Party, said; “we will fight the antisemitism that raises its head firmly in the world.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) said he was “shocked” by the attack.
“Last week, I met with Latin American ambassadors and asked them to convey a message that the Jewish state will not be silent in the face of antisemitic attacks and the duty of local governments to uproot them,” he added in a statement.
Social Equality Minister Gila Gamilel (Likud) said the attack was a “hate crime… the result of antisemitism that is rising around the world.”
“We pray for the safety of Rabbi Davidovich and his rapid recovery,” she added. “Argentina Jewry – the State of Israel is on your side.”
Amir Peretz (Labor) also consoled the community and urged Argentinean authorities to take action.
“The government should demand that the authorities in Argentina act quickly and decisively,” Peretz said. “We must do everything to ensure the welfare of Jews everywhere in the world.”
Ayman Odeh, chairman of Hadash-Ta’al, remarked in a statement that he was, “shocked by Rabbi Davidovich’s attack in Argentina.”
“Racism is racism and racism is racism, and should be condemned everywhere,” the Arab MK added.
Jewish leaders, too, were robust in their condemnation of the attack.
Chairman of the Jewish Agency Isaac Herzog condemned the attack and said that “we must fight to the end the human garbage whose source and motives are the hatred of Jews,” and said that the Jewish Agency would help lead the fight against global antisemitism.
“The World Jewish Congress is shocked and incensed by the brutal attack against the chief rabbi of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina, Gabriel Davidovich, who was savagely beaten by robbers inside his own home,” WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer said late Monday.
Argentinian officials and security forces are investigating the violent incident to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.

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