Merci Beaucoup, Paris. Now The Real Work Begins

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Last week, I wrote about “Je Suis Charlie” and, the next day, another tragedy happened at the Hyper Cacher Kosher grocery. Seventeen victims – cartoonists, police and Jewish shoppers – created a perfect storm of rage and resolve to finally oppose Muslim extremism and terrorism as a shared human and global responsibility.

It’s naïve to believe that the murders have nothing to do with Islam, as some commentators have declared, but also bigoted to believe that most Muslims secretly support terrorism.

Now, the civilized world has to act. The incredible outpouring of more than 4 million Frenchmen and women in the streets of Paris and other French cities, joined by political and religious leaders from around the world, was most comforting. Muslims carrying signs saying “Je Suis Juif” would have been unthinkable before this series of tragedies. But now, France and other European countries need to both invest in the civic education and integration of Muslims and to demand, of the police and the courts, better intelligence and enforcement.

Poverty alone is not an excuse for terrorism nor are the challenges of modern Western culture. Muslims need to condemn their terrorists again and again (just as Jews and Christians need to be vocal when their own cause violence).

Terrorism is a problem that will be with us for a long time. It will challenge all of us to reject prejudice and paranoia, while simultaneously refusing to fall prey to simplistic political correctness.

As we did last Shabbat, we’ll say Kaddish again for all of the victims this Friday night at Shabbat Alive services when the Merage Israeli Fellows speak about terrorism, homeland security and cybersecurity.

Please join for a service of solidarity and resolve.


Rabbi Arnold Rachlis

January 13th 2015 |