This past Sunday afternoon I was looking forward to watching the football game between Dallas and Green Bay when I decided to take a quick look at the major cable news channels’ coverage of the Paris terror attacks. One hour later I was still watching CNN. Part of the reason was the fact that I was somewhat moved by the significant coverage given to the murder of 4 Jewish people, something we as Jews are not accustomed to nowadays. The main reason however was the courageous and eloquent representation of the plight of French Jews as put forth by Simone Rodan-Benzaquen.
Simone is the Director of the AJC, “American Jewish Committee”, and a long-time resident of Paris. Her representation as a Jewish citizen of France was what is known in Jewish teachings as a “Kiddush Hashem”. Literally translated as a “Sanctification of God”, a Kiddush Hashem speaks to when a Jew’s behavior represents the people in a positive light, particularly to fellow Jews. In the case of Simone, her representation was a Kiddush Hashem to the entire world.
Her accounting of the anti-Semitism that the Jews of France have been dealing with for many years was important for everyone to hear. Thanks to people like Simone, we no longer live in a world where Jews remain silent when attacked, and no longer do they quietly hope it just goes away. In fact, the most inspiring words she spoke were the words that spoke of French Jews not fleeing the country, but rather staying, fighting, and remaining in the country they have called home for quite some time. She spoke positively of those who choose to go to Israel for ideological and positive reasons, but strongly encouraged no one to leave out of fear. As someone who is staying and fighting, she has every right to make this bold and courageous statement.
I want to thank Simone Rodan-Benzaquen for her permission to write this piece, but most of all for standing up for all of us in defense of good over evil. She is a shining light in this very dark world and I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for what she has done, and continues to do for all of us. France may be in the forefront today, but we are all in this together.
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