Rabbi Goldberg on the Paris Attacks

Dear Members and Friends of the IJC Family,

Friday night, as they went about their own business, 127 human beings were killed in Paris and many more injured. Several people, now all dead, again brought fear, terror, death and pain to one of Europe’s capitals, to a city of millions that is not so far from our own. In the aftermath of this terrible tragedy and loss of life, we extend our condolences to the families of those who were killed, our sympathy to those who were injured, and to their loved ones. 


Not nine months after the January attacks in Paris, we again join together in solidarity with the French people and with human beings everywhere who are outraged by these attacks.Closer to home, many of us are also concerned about what this means for our future and for our safety. We will continue to do our utmost to ensure that when we come together as a community, be it for a celebration, or services, for Hebrew School, a meal, a lecture, a class or another activity, we are safe.

Once again, as a community, we extend our hands and hearts, offering support to each other, to be there for those of us who need someone to lean on, or someone to talk to.

In our sorrow, in our fear and in the pain of such an attack, the inevitable question is “what next?” What will our governments do? Our neighbors? The people who live in our cities? Will this make people even more fearful of the stranger? Will it make Europe and/or its member states turn its back even more strongly to the refugee? Will those who embraced someone who is different begin to question their own kindness?

We have to wait and see what rises from these ashes. But whatever it is, it remains our sacred trust to be sure that the response is not so colored by hate, vengeance and fear that it occludes all our values, the principles we hold dear, that make us who we are. Without them, we risk becoming what we fight against. There are those who make us afraid and use it to turn us against our fellow human beings. We must not advance the extremists’ agendas by hating and fearing others. Together we stand against all hatred and bigotry, whatever its source and whoever its target.

Together, as people affected deeply by what has happened, as a community, we refuse to give in to terror and hate. May we find the support we need and have the strength and courage to face the future. Let us move ahead with the determination to stand for the best in each of us and in our IJC community.

Rabbi Ira Goldberg
IJC Belgium