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From Vienna with LO💙E!
Recently, I visited Vienna to celebrate the Bah Mitzvah of a very cheeky 13yr old! The “coming of age” of a Jewish child into their culture. Despite it being a poignant juncture in the life of the teenager, given the ongoing devastation in Israel/Gaza there were understandable reservations from the family about going ahead.
Thankfully they did proceed, b/c to not have gone ahead would have been to “give away more”, adding to a history where so much of the Jewish community has already been taken & destroyed. Going ahead was re-affirmation to Jewish kids in Vienna to propagate their culture for the future. To be PROUD of who they are & know why. A reminder of the LO💙E that surrounds them, the importance of togetherness & support for each other, esp. in stress.
The Jewish community is 0.2% of the global population, a minority. Hence, to not have gone ahead with a celebration of an important moment in their culture, would have been dilutive to ANYONE, of ANY minority, b/c it would have meant to “back away” from standing up for who you are & give into an unwarranted narrative against them: the world CANNOT blame all of Israel’s actions on Jews everywhere!
A clear feeling I got from the Jewish people I met in Vienna was pure LO💙E & warmth. Moreover, every single one I spoke with wants the SAFETY OF ALL CIVILIANS affected on the ground in Israel & Gaza: innocent Palestinians & Jews. NOT one called for hate or death of any civilian due to their ethnicity. Yet there are calls of worse against them.
At a recent UN Forum on Minority Issues, Volker Türk, High Commissioner for human rights stated, “We all need to recognise that promoting & protecting minorities is an obligation inherent in universal human rights & this is in the interest of society as a whole. To tackle discrimination, including in its many intersecting forms, we must use the tools at our disposal more effectively.” This responsibility is with each of us. For starters, just by giving more LO💙E, we can be more supportive of each other. This is how the Jewish community I’ve met interacts amongst themselves. All spheres of life could learn a lot from that 💙.