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#Je Suis Juif

I'm just back from picking my daughter up from her drama class.  There and back in 10 minutes.

What a pleasure it is to drive around here on a Saturday morning, the roads are almost empty. The streets however are full - of observant Jews walking to and from synagogue.  There are various types - those who pray in the morning and then get in their cars and go shopping in the afternoon, those who will not drive on the Sabbath at all, and the ultra-Orthodox in their black fur hats and black silk dressing gowns and white stockings.  This last group are almost as alien to me as Muslims who wear a full veil, but today I revelled at the sight of all my Jewish neighbours walking to synagogue.  I almost wanted to hug them.  Hell, I almost wanted to join them but it would have been in protest of the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks this week in Paris and in solidarity with the victims rather than a desire to pray.  Yes, je suis Juif.  I am Jewish.  If the terrorists want to target the Jews then I am one of them, just like my mother, grandparents, aunt and uncles were Jews to the Nazis.  Did they ask their victims, do you believe in God? No!  They asked, are you Jewish?  (In actual fact the Nazis told them who was Jewish according to their racial laws).  I am not religious.  I do not believe in God. Je suis Juif.  I am Jewish.  I am as Jewish as the ultra-Orthodox in their black fur hats.  The Holocaust made me so and Al Qaeda is now reconfirming the fact.

The events in Paris this week were really shocking.  The terrible murders at the Charlie Hebdo offices. Businesses in Le Marais (the Jewish quarter) were made to close early yesterday.  The Grand Synagogue of Paris did not host Shabbat services and closed Friday for security reasons, the first time that's happened since World War II.  Four hostages killed as a result of an attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris yesterday.  Numbers of Jews leaving France in the past year are at a record high, and now many more are sure to follow.  I am currently halfway through reading 'Suite Française' by Irène Némirovsky about the Nazi occupation of Paris.  The interesting thing about this author is that she was born Jewish and converted to Catholicism but was still considered Jewish by Nazi racial laws and was murdered at Auschwitz in 1942.  In the first half of the book read so far the word 'Jew' has not been mentioned once, so far it is only about Catholic French fleeing Paris.  It makes me think that it will not only be the Jews leaving France should the terrorism continue.

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