The Secretary General of the NIK Organisation of Jewish Communities in the Netherlands Ruben Vis wrote an opinion article on the Jonet.nl website about the current situation in Israel.
“The dejection couldn’t be greater. The Jewish people, everywhere in the world, are in intense grief. In the 75th year of its existence, the State of Israel has been hit unprecedentedly hard, and when Israel is hit, we are all hit. Everyone watches TV or follows the news in some other way. It is unavoidable to take note of the unfathomable pain in today’s media society .
Be that unexpected friend to each other at a time when we are especially confronted with hostility. Because we all experience the same pain that cuts through our souls. What connects us is soulmate. Make that connection between two poor souls, yours and his or hers. Particularly in our situations where we are often forced to experience our Jewishness in physical isolation, mutual attention and interest are essential. If possible, call each other, send a text message to someone who is not at the top of your WhatsApp list. Scroll through and then you find someone who makes you think: yes, I should text them again. Or better yet, I’ll call them.
Meet each other
Jewish communities have organized meetings in various places, not necessarily in public, but to meet each other. This happens or has happened in Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Leeuwarden, The Hague, Utrecht and Zwolle. Everywhere in the country and all with the same meaning. Coming together because we want to process the grief together.
Expressions of sympathy
But also know that we are not alone. Expressions of sympathy are pouring in at the NIK. Heart-warming statements have been issued by OJEC (Consultation Body for Jews and Christians), OJCM (Consultation for Jews, Christians and Muslims), the Catholic Council for Judaism, the Protestant Church and the Dutch Bishops’ Conference. Mayors in many cities are contacting administrators of the Jewish Community. In The Hague, Prime Minister Rutte held a meeting with the Central Jewish Consultation on Tuesday afternoon. In the morning there was a scheduled hearing of the House of Representatives with the ambassador of Israel and CIDI. There is much, much more happening, whether locally, regionally or nationally. To support each other and to support Israel.
Chazak chazak venitchazak
Last Sunday was Simchat Torah, the most joyful day on the Jewish calendar. It was anything but that this year. But nevertheless, the Torah was read again that day and we immediately started again. Before starting again, despite everything, despite this unimaginable misery, Chazak chazak venitchazak ‘s wish sounded . Strong, strong and for strength it will be. Because no matter what happens, our hope – Hatikva – is inexhaustible, and our perseverance is indestructible.
In sorrow and in solidarity, Shalom al Yisrael !”