I am heartsick about the terrorism in Paris. I have a huge love/hate relationship with Paris. It is my most favorite city in the world and I am conflicted because Paris and France have a long history of anti-semitism. It has been on the rise and French Jews have been fleeing in droves to Israel to find peace. The brutal murders at Charlie Hebdo earlier this week, made the Parisians stand up for all that they believe. Democracy, freedom of expression, liberte. The horror of the unconscionable murders of journalists shook the French to their core. There were three terrorists, one 18 year old and two brothers in their 30's. The 18 year old folded and surrendered the first day. The two brothers fled and held the police off until today where they held hostages and were surrounded by the police and army. Finally, this hostage situation ended in the death of the two terrorists.
At the same time, waking up this morning to hear that there was another hostage situation at a Kosher market in Paris, in the Marais, by another two terrorists. As upsetting as the Charlie Hebdo murders are, I can't tell you how upsetting it is to me that more Jews are targeted. As non-religious as I am, I am through and through Jewish. I relate to the history and the culture of the Jewish people. I have spent my life conflicted about the religious aspect, but still find myself drawn to the Jewish religion if any religion at all. It seems simple and fluid. I am not speaking about the extreme right of the Jewish religion. Any extreme I don't get. It's difficult for many to understand that anti-semitism is alive and well everywhere. Young people don't see it, just like many young people don't see racism and homophobia, but it's all still there. The slights and covert undercurrents of anti-semitism are clear when watching the news or reading the New York Times. The "dog whistles" (as Chris Matthews coined regarding the racism of Republican speak) of anti-semitism are getting louder the older I get. Is it me getting wiser and more aware? Or is the reality that the drums of Jew-hating is getting louder and louder.
I am trying to process all of this. There are still so many more facts to get. How many have died? How many are injured? How did the French police decide to raid both locations at the same time? How many are dead?? Have you been to the Marais in Paris? It is a tiny, small, Jewish community. Smaller than the former lower east side in NYC. It's hard to even fathom that terror could be inflicted on these small streets of Paris. It is quaint and old. Everyone knows everyone. The streets are teeming with tourists. It's a gem of a neighborhood. A slice of a time gone by. So, for those that know me, you may feel that I am hypersensitive to the plight of Jews, but I don't think I am hyper anything. I feel I have to help point out acts against Jews and Israel. We are mighty but few, that pisses people off. We won't stand down.
Whether you are Jewish or not, take a moment to think about the journalists and Jewish people that were killed by terrorists. Maybe light a candle in their memory and in hopes for a brighter future. I can't shake it off. Je suis triste. Je suis Juif. Shabbat Shalom.
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