The climate is tense, but Europe’s Jewish leaders are more engaged than ever
A girl waves an Israel national flag and a French national flag during a pro-Israel demonstration organized by the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF) outside the Jewish state's embassy on July 31, 2014. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
For many observers, Europe is once again on a path to becoming Judenrein. Rocked by a series of ugly attacks targeting Jews and the rise of political extremism, the fatal shooting of four people at a Jewish museum in Brussels, and widespread riots as the war between Israel and Hamas raged, all the signs point towards a possibly significant departure of Jews. Government leaders, commentators and Jewish organizations laudably demand high-level interventions and the need to protect Jewish facilities and Jews themselves from the onslaught.
Yet there is another fascinating and important side to this dynamic—Jewish empowerment on a scale never imagined after the Holocaust and decades of Communist oppression. In fact, for the last three decades, Europe’s emerging Jewish leaders have been molded at a Jewish summer camps, educational and leadership development classes, synagogues, holiday festivals, and other activities that were created and invested in, by the tens of millions, by organizations and philanthropists who wanted to help revive Jewish civilization in this part of the world. (more…)