I was in Berlin last summer. A city I love because it has experienced all the worst and all the best of the world, at the same time it is a suffering and joyful city.
I was wandering, without a clear direction, through the streets trying to capture that atmosphere.
I was walking on Rosenthaler Strasse and going through the covered courtyards… there I found a small Jewish bookstore, with many small colorful menorah for children in its showcase. I get in, having a glance, looking at the people inside… then I saw a small box locked, it contained many stars of David of different sizes, different materials, some old.
It’s been a while that I wanted to do it, then I decided to buy one finally.
The shop owner looked at me puzzled and embarrassed, maybe he wanted to do that question but he didn’t have the courage. I smiled reassuringly. He was able only to ask: where are you from? I’m Italian I said … I put it right away in my necklace… I do not need the box…then he helped me to wear it…
From that day I wear every day my Magen David proudly.
In the face of rising anti-Semitism in Europe, and in Italy too, in particular during the last summer war, I have experienced the feeling of being observed, being asked by curious, being watched suspiciously… and shortly I realized the fear of being attacked by wearing a Jewish symbol.
Well, I still continue to wear it and I am prepared to any consequences, because I’m sick and tired of the growing of anti- Semitic events all over Europe, putting my necklace is a concrete gesture to show solidarity and support against any kind of religious discriminations, against Judaism in particular.
The saddest thing about Europe today, however, is that few people of any stature seem willing to denouncing clearly and in a compelling way about the necessity to stop talking and starting actions, even small ones. No religious leader in Europe, not even Pope Francesco, today presently comes even close to filling the subsequent void.
In short, it’s difficult not to conclude that, on so many levels, much of Europe is in an advanced state of unravelling. A long series of symptoms tell us that -the unwillingness to acknowledge that certain strains of Islamic theology are feeding today’s terrorism, the resurgent anti-Semitism laced with paranoid conspiracy theories, the absence of any real leadership anywhere (and at UE level, in particular)—suggest that many Europeans need to find their own way to manifest their disappointment and to give solidarity.
In the end, we can, as individuals, do something about this situation before it is too late. So wearing my Magen David is a small thing but it is my way to create awareness and to awake the world that surrounds me.