My grandmother, a survivor of several Nazi camps, made it clear that she would never step foot back in Europe. She would always tell us, “They murdered us, they kicked us out, I am not stepping foot back in that land!”
Over the past couple of years I was invited several times to travel with students to see the concentration camps and I have always refused. There are many reasons I refused to visit countries that attempted to wipe out my nation. One of those reasons is I am scared to witness anti-Semitism.
It is not that I am scared of the anti-Semitic remarks or violence that might occur, I am nervous as to how I would react.
See, I am a very proud religious, Zionist Jew and I am allergic to pictures of Jewish victims from the Holocaust who were forced into a state of hopelessness with their hands up in fear as Nazis pointed their guns at us.
I am allergic because the words ‘never again’ are a way of life for me rather than a slogan to be hash tagged on Facebook.
Hitler attempted to break and destroy the Jewish people and my grandmother used to tell us that we, her Jewish grandsons, are her sweetest revenge.
First and foremost, ‘Never Again’ means to me that I must make sure my children grow up as proud religious Jews.
WE must make sure our children know who they are and that they should never hesitate to be proud. Never hide your Judaism! NEVER!
There is another aspect of ‘never again’ for me that some people might cringe at.
Never Again means NEVER becoming a victim again. Be proactive! No more picking up our arms as we stare down the barrel of some anti-Semitic rifle. I am not judging those who faced the nightmares of the past, I am talking about us, who are living in the present and the lessons we need to learn from the past.
Never Again means letting those who are thinking about attacking us know, we are no longer the ghetto Jew they so easily beat up and murdered 75 years ago. You come at us now and we will be charging at you with everything we got.
This past week I visited Europe for the first time in my life. I visited the Netherlands after being invited by a pro Israel group.
I went to speak about Israel, the IDF and of course to raise funds for the different Standing Together IDF support projects.
The evening was amazing, but there was a repetitive warning my wife and I kept hearing from our amazing hosts, “Maybe wear a hat and definitely put in your Tzizit when you go to Amsterdam.”
It was unfathomable to think that Jews cannot walk around Holland in 2017 without hiding who we are. My wife asked if Muslims can walk around in Hijabs and of course the answer was yes. We looked at people as simply said, “This is ridiculous!”
Our hosts agreed with us and then told us of Jews who were beaten up for wearing their Kipa. They told me to at least consider tucking in my Tzizit… My reaction?
WE ARE DONE HIDING! NEVER AGAIN IS NOW!
The people at the pro Israel event also discussed the anti Semitic situation with my wife and told her to maybe ask me to take off my kipa. She smiled and said, not a chance!
Thursday morning we made it to Amsterdam with my kipa on my head and my Tzizit out proudly blowing in the Dutch wind. Were we scared? No. Were we alert? Absolutely.
We walked proudly through the streets of Amsterdam with our heads held high. With every step we took on the dark stone floor, our hearts felt the millions of Jews who were lead to their death on these same streets just 75 years ago. Every time our foot hit the stones we heard echoes thought the streets. Here we are! Two Jews bringing up a Jewish family in the Land of Israel, The ultimate revenge towards anyone who wishes for our destruction. This time the echo was not one of fear or hopelessness, this time the echo was loud and clear and it sounded like this:
“WE ARE HERE AND WE WILL NOT HIDE! NEVER AGAIN!”
The irony was the fact that while I was proudly walking down the streets of Amsterdam, my government, the Jewish State of Israel was closing the Temple Mount for Jews.
Why were they closing it for Jews? Because they heard many people say don’t walk through Amsterdam with your Kipa on your head and instead of saying NEVER AGAIN, my government picked up their hands hopeless in the face of radical Islamic terrorism.
We allow the holiest place for the Jewish people to be ruled by those who openly talk about annihilating the Jewish people. We send police up to watch with hawkish eyes to make sure the JEW does not whisper a prayer on our holiest site…have we lost out mind!
Can you imagine if the Dutch police would have followed me into a synagogue to make sure I, a Jew, not dare whisper a prayer!
How fast would my government of Israel be charging the Dutch government with anti-Semitism? Would we accept the claim of “we don’t want to offend those who want to murder Jews” from them?
So, we put up metal detectors to make sure Muslim terrorists are no longer able to bring weapons on to the Temple Mount and the Muslims get violent over these security measures and what does my country do?
My government closes the Temple Mount for Jews?!
Have we lost our minds!
This morning I hear the Israeli secret service suggested taking down the metal detectors in order to calm the situation? We get murdered and we have to appease the feelings of those murdering us?
HAVE WE LOST OUR MINDS?
The Arabs are violently demonstrating because they are offended by the metal detectors and are demanding we don’t check them for weapons and we are considering giving in to their demands?
HAVE WE LOST OUR MINDS?!
Someone should let the Israeli government know that we are no longer in the ghettos. If the people in charge are not able to muster up the courage and strength to live by the words of our anthem ארץ ציון ירושלים and להיות עם חופשי בארצינו they should make room for someone who will not give in to demands by those who call for our annihilation. Make room for someone who understands our existence and survival is dependent on who we are as a nation and a religion. Make room for someone who understands the importance of implementing policy that will make sure NEVER AGAIN means NEVER AGAIN! Forget Amsterdam!
It’s time we walk proudly with our Kipa and Tzizit and in all our Jewish glory right here in Jerusalem! (YES! I am including the Temple Mount)