February 2015 — Shevat-Adar 5775,  Volume 21, Issue 2

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Terrorism in France—Where Do We Go From Here?


In the wake of recent terrorist incidents in Paris, American Jewish Committee (AJC) Westchester/Fairfield and Westchester Jewish Council (WJC) presented a solidarity program, “Terrorism in France—Where Do We Go From Here?” at Temple Israel Center {TIC},  White Plains on Tuesday, January 20, attended by well over 500 people from Westchester County and outlying Jewish communities.


Regional AJC President Stuart Ginsberg welcomed the community, followed by a Remembrance Ceremony from TIC Senior Rabbi Gordon Tucker; Young Israel of Scarsdale Rabbi Jonathan Morgenstern and Westchester Reform Temple Rabbi Jonathan Blake.


AJC Regional Director Scott Richman introduced Keynote Speakers European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) President Jane Braden-Golay and AJC Executive Director David Harris.


“I thought being an active Jewish student meant discussing issues such as Darfur and taking pride in being Jewish,” Braden-Golay observed.  “But 2012 was a defining year with the attack on a school in Toulouse, France and the Cologne, Germany court decision against ritual circumcision.  One affected our physical safety; the other our spiritual practice.


“After the attack on the Brussels Jewish Museum in 2014, we had to leave our EUJS office for a couple of weeks and step up security.  I always speak about amazing Jewish life in Europe but now find it difficult to balance this in light of recent events.


“I am very concerned for our 200,000 students—where are we going to go? However, there are some positive signs, particularly French Prime Minister Manuel Valls’ speech acknowledging the exodus of European Jews,” Braden-Golay continued.


“It was painful to listen to Jane, together with her 200,000 European students that her organization represents,” Harris stressed. “What must we do to ensure Jane’s future, wherever she chooses to live?


“Europe must wake up and combat radical Islam.  Anti-Semitism is not about Jews alone. It is a cancer that, left unchecked, will metastasize and ultimately destroy European democracy.  If we come together tonight and nothing changes in our lives tomorrow morning, we have failed,” Harris concluded.