Earlier tonight, I posted “Dear Jews in France – Come home. Love, Israel”
But what arrogance. You are home. In France. A place many of you have lived for generations.
Forgive me. I wrote this with the best intentions, from a place hurting with a sadness deep — a sadness rendered through history, through the genetic memory I have of my Great Grandparents leaving, weary and scared.
A memory, visceral, scored in a minor key… My Great Grandmother wrapping her father’s kiddush cup in a cotton sheath with tears in her eyes. My Great Grandfather stomping out a cigarette and refusing to look back.
Like that last scene in Fiddler on the Roof where everyone leaves Anatevka — their home for generations:
“What do we leave? Nothing much.
This little song – this song that made my Grandfather cry.
How can I tell you to leave? You who immigrated from North Africa, from Eastern Europe, from Babylon. You who have helped shape the history of France. You, who want to stay to make sure that France — YOUR France — exists forever.
You are incredible: You show such bravery in the face of these horrific attacks.
But… and there is a but… living in your home should not be an act of bravery.
At a certain point, the people of Anatevka had to leave.
They had to pack their things and walk away, just like my great grandparents — perhaps like many of YOUR great grandparents, too…
For that prayer “God bless and keep the Tsar….. far away from us” could not hold.
And I’m not sure the measures we have in place to keep the “lone wolves” from circling, baying, salivating and devouring will hold either.
So, Israel is here — with our arms wide open, we will be your home if you choose.
You wonderful, brave people who have helped shape France — who have shown loyalty to your home, to your friends and your families… You who have created art and music and literature, who have advanced science and technology. You who have challenged authority in the best ways possible, who have helped make France free. You who have kept traditions, and your culture, and your sense of humor… You whose parents and grandparents have survived the Shoah. You are a shining example and a light unto the generations.
And Israel needs you, too.