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  • Martin van den Bergh

Sorry to come back to the subject of antisemitism

I have two apologies. Firstly, I have not been blogging lately (perhaps this does not need an apology). Secondly, coming back to the subject of antisemitism, which is becoming more prevalent around the world. The sad truth is that no official definition or law is going to really dissipate this oldest of hatred. But, what is going to dissipate it is those who are Jewish should appreciate that they are part of the Jewish People, and live their Judaism. Perhaps, living ones Judaism is not so easy, because there are different ways in which to do so. However, all these different ways can be summed up in one approach, which our sages already hint at, that of living in such a way as will sanctify the name of God. My late grandfather said that one of the most important ways to do this, is how we as Jews can behave especially with non-Jews, in our business dealings, and in any other way which brings us into contact with non-Jews. This does not mean, trying to behave as a non-Jew. On the contrary, we should always behave as a Jew.


Many years ago, I spent time with the late Haham Solomon Gaon. It was actually Tisha B'Av, as I took him to the services as Bevis Marks Synagogue in London. Haham Gaon was one of my heroes in the Rabbinate and was one of my role models. Even today he is not far from my thoughts. On that Tisha B'Av Haham Gaon told me of when he was a student at UCL. When he used to eat his sandwiches for lunch, many of his non-Jewish fellow students would join him. He asked them why did they not go in for their non-Kosher lunches. They replied, they respected him because he kept Kosher, rather than other Jewish students who did not.


Thus, the best antidote to antisemitism is for Jews to be Jewish!

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