European Jewish Life


Kudos to Gary Rosenblatt for his balanced column on the future of European Jewish life (“Don’t Write Off European Jewry,” Oct. 31). While the Jewish world rightly focuses on the virulent anti-Semitism currently spreading throughout Europe, its also important to draw fuller attention to another important phenomenon taking place on the continent — the continued renewal and maturation of Jewish communities after their decimation during the Holocaust and Communism.

In today’s Europe, Jewish culture is being revived and adapted for its contemporary setting and is an integral part of the European cultural scene. A glimpse of that can be found in the dozens of Jewish film festivals and expanding Jewish street festivals, Jewish summer camps with maxed out attendance, the opening of new Jewish Community Centers and Jewish kindergartens, and young Jewish social innovators who are changing the way “being Jewish” is done with a confidence and creativity unthinkable 25 years ago. We at JDC are proud to be working with local Jewish communities, and other partners, on these initiatives.

Now add to that the vocal advocacy of Jewish communities actively fighting efforts to ban circumcision [and] kashrut and the whitewashing of Holocaust era collaboration with the Nazis, and a different picture emerges.

Despite prejudice and hatred, the Jewish people are finding the strength to both survive and thrive. It’s a lesson worth understanding before declaring Europe Judenrein.

Europe Director American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)