Shaken Not Stirred

With all of the terrible events of the past few weeks in France, it is not an understatement to say that a good percentage of my day, even as I go through my daily routine, is consumed with thoughts of those events. Terrorism, murder, Antisemitism, fear, hatred have all been seething out of the pores of France and have boiled over in acts of horrific violence. This violence, of course, has been perpetrated not only against Jews but against non-Jews, as well. So many thoughts have gone through my head, and, quite honestly, much of what I have been thinking has already been expressed here on Times of Israel blogs, in highly emotional and well-thought out pieces.

However, there is one perspective that I have not yet seen and one that I wish to address. MANY people, both in France and beyond her borders, have been shaken by the events that have transpired there. They have been shaken not only by the heinous acts themselves but also by the reaction from many who “supported” these acts of terror. Who was not shaken by videos and still photographs of kids as young as ten and eleven years old shouting supportive slogans of the Kosher market slaughter?

Yet, while MANY people have been SHAKEN by these events, have they been STIRRED to action? It is one thing to be upset, hurt, etc when confronting evil and those who wish to do you harm. It is another thing to DO something about it. Yes, some indeed have been stirred to action, most notably the reported tens of thousands of French Jewish citizens, who have been applying to make Aliya. Yes, indeed, they have been stirred to action.

But what of people in other countries? What about Jews living in the rest of Europe, the USA, Australia (which also has had it’s recent terrorism incidents), Brazil and Canada? Shaken, yes; stirred, well that is still left to be seen? And to what action should they be stirred? And to what action should those of us in Israel be stirred?

For starters, everyone needs to wake up and realize that we are not dealing with a mere few thousand mis-guided, lone-wolf, garden variety terrorists who are “just over there.” We are dealing with millions upon millions of people who share the ideology of the French terrorists. Being stirred to action means, at the bare minimum, educating yourself and others to the real threats that lay out there from those who wish to harm you. It means being an advocate–an outspoken one–at your places of business and in your homes as to the dangers of extremism that threaten the world; extremists who say CLEARLY that their goal is a worldwide caliphate. Being stirred to action means taking a long hard look at where you live and asking yourself if now might be the right time to get off the fence about moving to Israel, the ONLY place on Earth that has as part of its raison d’etre protecting all Jews and giving them a safe haven. (NO, I am not pandering to FEAR. I am being realistic as to the true evil in this world).

For those of us in Israel, being stirred to action means asking these difficult questions to our families who live in the Diaspora. It means contacting anyone we know in France to offer our deepest condolences and offering them a place for them to stay once they make Aliya until they can land on their feet.

I am certain that when you yourself put your mind to it, you also can think of many ways you might be stirred to take action. There have been some who have suggested that these recent attacks in France will finally “make the world wake up” to the scourge of terror. Honestly, I do not believe that for a minute. While the pain is fresh and the 3 million person march images are still on our Facebook feeds, perhaps it is a brief enlightenment or awakening. But soon, sadly, things will just return to “normal.”

We can not let that happen. Rather than just being shaken by these events, we need to be stirred. Please feel free to share ideas here or in any other venue that you believe can be ACTIVELY put into practice.

About the Author
After living in Chicago for 50 years, the last 10 of which Zev Shandalov served as a shul Rav and teacher in local Orthodox schools, his family made Aliya to Maale Adumim in July 2009. Shandalov currently works as a teacher, mostly interacting with individual students.