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Why One Jew is Staying Put in Brussels

The first installment of ‘Voices from Europe’ on our partner site, Jewcy

Stephanie Butnick
March 09, 2015
The Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium. (Shutterstock)
The Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium. (Shutterstock)

This month at Jewcy, our partner site, we’ve launched a series called Voices from Europe, in which young Jews across Europe share stories of the reality of their day-to-day lives. Guest editing the site is Jane Braden-Golay, president of the European Union of Jewish Students, who laid out her vision for the month in her editor’s note last week.

The first piece in the series comes from Joshua Goodman, a Brussels-based radio host. He says most of his friends and family back home in Canada can’t understand why he wants to stay in Europe.

My life in Europe (and I would argue that Jewish life in general) has become defined by one issue and one issue alone – anti-Semitism. At least that is the case when back home in Canada or visiting the US.

The reality is so much more complex. I do question my long-term future here, but there are a range of reasons driving that assessment: Europe’s security infrastructure is beyond inadequate and has thus failed to deal with ISIS and the wave of fighters returning from Syria; it has failed to integrate immigrant populations; its economy is in shambles and the prospects are rather bleak; and, the EU is politically unstable and its future uncertain (I’m being kind here). I could go on.

Anti-Semitism is linked to some of these challenges and independent from others. It is part of the overall calculus, but it is not the single defining issue for me.

Read the full piece here.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.