05 November 2012

Eretz Yisrael vs. Chutz La'Aretz

21 Marcheshvan 5773

This is what everything is about today - getting the Jews to come home.

Jewish Family Attacked in Marseille, France
The father of a Jewish family was badly beaten and the family home was completely trashed on Sunday by local youths in Marseille, France.

The father of a Jewish family was badly beaten and the family home was completely trashed on Sunday by local youths in Marseille, France. Residents in their Jewish neighborhood are stunned following the incident.

Marseilles is home to some 80,000 Jews – 10 percent of the general population but a small fraction compared to the 250,000 Muslims with whom they also live. It has been relatively quiet France's second-largest city this year, compared to other areas in the country where violent anti-Semitism has been on the rise.

Last month the SPCJ (Service de Protection de la Communaute Juive) security agency for French Jewry reported a 45 percent rise in anti-Semitic attacks since 2011, mostly by Muslims.

This incident began when two youths parked their car in a Jewish family's private garage.

When the family saw the unfamiliar vehicle they called police, and the car was towed. Upon finding their vehicle gone and learning it had been towed, the youths became angry.

They returned with a gang of friends to exact their revenge upon the hapless family. The gang broke into the home, severely beat up the father of the family and destroyed the rest of the house.

According to local sources, one of the youths reportedly attempted to murder the father. Neighbors heard the family's screams coming from the home and called police, who arrested the attackers. Upon leaving the scene, the attackers promised to “finish the job,” according to local media reports.

In May of this year, a 17-year-old Jewish youth wearing a kipa was also attacked by four male gang members who shouted “It's Shabbat for you, long live [Al Qaeda-linked French Algerian Muslim terrorist] Mohamed Merah! F*** the Jews.... Palestine will win!”

One of the gang members jumped on to his victim, punching him in the arm and kicking him in the leg. The victim punched him back. The attacker also punched the victim's brother-in-law, who tried to block the attack, according to Tel Aviv University's Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry.

Superstorm Sandy vs. Qassam rockets
Israeli mother of two living in Long Island escapes destructions of Superstorm Sandy; stays with family in Gaza vicinity area. 'At least we have running water and electricity,' she says

Amit Kastilio, a mother of two, arrived in Israel on Sunday after Superstorm Sandy destroyed her Long Island home.

Kastilio, who was born and raised in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, left Long Island with her two sons, Yoachim, 4, and Ily, 2, while her husband stayed at home, trying to repair the damages caused by the superstorm.

"Our house has been flooded… we managed to rescue only a few possessions and go up to our neighbors' house at the last minute. We had no water or electricity… houses were on fire, people were standing on roof tops," Kastilio told Yedioth Ahronoth. "It was a nightmare… at some point I decided enough was enough, we could not stay there with the kids. We managed to book flights to Israel with the help of our family."

However, that was not the end of their difficulties. Getting to the airport appeared to be a complicated task as well. "We waited in line for hours at the gas station. It was all a big mess; I can't imagine how much longer it will take to get life back on track," Kastilio added.

Meanwhile, Kastilio and her children are staying at her sister's home in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, where they are facing danger of a totally different kind: "Although we are under the Qassam rocket threat, at least we have running water and electricity," she said, "Things might not be prefect around here, but at least life goes on."

Mailbag: Far Rockaway Situation Something Out Of Movie…Except It’s Real

I am 23 years old, and while I may have lost no financial assets in the hurricane, it is still easy to relay the message of the damage that has occurred to fellow Jews.

A few guys went back home to Far Rockaway, to help victims, for the first time since before the storm. The situation is something out of a movie, except it is real – and there seems to be no end.

In the few short hours we were helping, we witnessed parents literally crying for warm food, and a recently bar mitzvah boy sobbing as we took away his recently destroyed collection of brand new seforim. This is nearly a week after the storm!!

People have no cars as they were destroyed during the hurricane. The houses are flooded from basement to first floor destroying everything and leaving a toxic smell in its path. I was in many people’s homes where sand clogged the pipes and septic water was swept throughout their homes. Half the people are staying home because they are scared of looting, and the other half are leaving because they are scared of the type of people looting. People are freezing, hungry, in despair, and it seems no one in surrounding communities has a clue.

The only factor affecting communities are the long gas lines and ensuring their workers can be at work each day. I have lost no assets but it was very disappointing for me to hear a rabbi this week on Shabbos make no mention of any suffering occurring at this time.

It is very inspiring as there are a tremendous amount of organizations and individuals offering homes, food, and clothes, but it is not even close to the amount of help that should and needs to be done.

People have no idea how bad the situation is.

Shul doors left open just hoping someone will clean it out. A trailer truck of shaimos came from less than 30 homes. From what I hear towns such a s Seagate and Bell Harbor are much worse off. This is not New Orleans; this is right in our backyard!

This poorly written letter is solely meant to spark your interest just enough to research a little into the catastrophe that has occurred in the Jewish community. I’m not sure if it will take a YouTube music video from someone famous or just community leaders in surrounding neighborhoods to help make this message more real.

Ask around how you can help on a financial level and definitely with the cleaning efforts, from the little we saw it was heart breaking.