The deaths of 15 people — including 13 non-Jews — in an apparent terrorist attack last week at a Tunisian synagogue underscores the need for non-Jews to join Jews in fighting a wave of anti-Semitic violence, according to Israel’s deputy foreign minister.
“We have to act with all our strength, Jews and non-Jews alike, because anti-Semitism always undermines the fundamentals of society,” Rabbi Michael Melchior said.
Buenos Aires — At first glance, the once-thriving capital of Argentina looks as thriving as ever. The downtown commercial area, near the banks of the Rio de la Plata river, is filled with people. The shelves of the upscale shops are stocked with the latest goods. The city’s distinctive yellow-and-black taxis cruise the streets.
But at second glance …
Three synagogues were firebombed, a kosher butcher shop was shot at, and a young Jewish couple was beaten — the pregnant woman so seriously that she was hospitalized. All of this happened last weekend in France, the latest in a series of more than 400 anti-Semitic attacks there in the past 18 months.
But the 600,000 Jews of France are not alone in facing what observers are calling the worst anti-Semitism since World War II.
In an often hard-hitting report, a Swiss government study has documented much of what the Swiss have denied until recent years — that Switzerland turned its back on Jews seeking refuge from the Nazis, often violated its strict neutrality laws by cooperating with the Nazis, and failed to return property to Jews or their heirs.
Two weeks after returning from Uganda, where he oversaw the conversion of about 300 members of the Abayudaya community to Judaism, Rabbi Howard Gorin of Rockville, Md., is already planning a trip back.
“This is not dunk ‘em and leave ‘em,” he said, referring to the mikveh, the ritual immersion conducted as part of the conversion process.
Buenos Aires — In the good years, Marcela would begin her Passover shopping a few weeks before the seders. The usual matzah and wine and fish, new clothing for her two children, some coins to be hidden around the family’s apartment for the afikoman search. “Everything,” she said.
This year, nothing. No clothes, no coins.