My youngest is about to turn 15, she has several friends whose parents came from France. The cousin of one was in the store just minutes before the attack; another wasn't able to find a cousin and was afraid she might be inside. This is how we began the Sabbath. "They won't leave," my youngest said to me in sadness. "They won't leave."
As soon as the Sabbath ended, I heard the devastating news that four innocent Jews had been killed and another 15 had been rescued in the hostage situation. Among the dead, was the son of the chief Rabbi of Tunis. They were part of a killing spree that cost France a total of 17 lives during the past week. At least five of those were Jews; the policeman gunned down in cold blood was a Muslim.
I am filled with pain and anger. Some for the Jews themselves. I do not believe in blaming the victim. That is something almost instinctive when you have low opinions of the killers, you naturally think that perhaps there is something the victim could have done - it's wrong.
And yet...I want to shout at the Jewish community in France. Enough already. Get the hell out of France now. I don't care how hard it is - the reality of what France is becoming is harder.
I don't care what it costs - would you place your money above the lives of your children? You have just paid the highest price. God Almighty, what more do you need?
Pack your stinking bags, please please please. The pain tears at our hearts - that is what it is to be a Jew. To feel, to the core of your being, the agony of a Jew, no matter where. All Shabbat, we held you in our prayers, in our hearts, desperate to hear of a miracle; deeply saddened that two had been murdered; terrified that even as we were praying more would have died.
There are a thousand reasons why moving to Israel is hard - the economy, leaving behind roots that have grown over centuries, the comfort of speaking the language of your birth, even if it isn't really the language of your fathers. Grandparents, elderly parents, relatives that can't come now and may never leave. Jobs, homes, stores...a thousand reasons to stay and but one major one to leave - the time has come.
The clouds of death were gathering over Europe in 1939, but it was easy to deny them...almost impossible to convince the heart of what the brain was fearing. The clouds will pass, don't they always? The ashes, the gas, the marches, the ghettos, those days are gone...
But they aren't - they will never be gone and you are truly a fool if you think otherwise. In the dawn today that follows the nightmare of last week, which follows many other nightmares - the beating of a rabbi, the murder of a father and children, endless other attacks...the time has come.
Wherever you are in France, go home, pack your suitcases, call a real estate agent and get on the next plane. Every El All plane should be full.
And I'll add something that my older daughter just said to me - it was something that I knew it in my heart, but she said it beautifully...
When it is your home and someone attacks you, you stay - you even feel like you need to stay even more. But when it isn't, you feel like you need to leave - you feel like you need to leave even more than regularly. Yes, people are killed in Israel, but even, despite that, we feel like staying, we need to stay because Israel is ours. The lesson for the Jews of France is that where you are, is not home.The proof, among all others, is that so many are leaving. When this happens, you think about leaving yourself but wonder if the time has come. If you can't listen to me (and my brilliant daughter), listen to Yoav Hattab, one of the murdered Jews from France...he was in Israel just last week and wore the Israeli flag throughout his visit. He told others, "only in Israel is it possible to walk around freely with the star of David - in France I would never be able to do this."
The time has come - the clouds ARE gathering. Please, Jews of France, get out of France now. Come before the storm, come before more die. Come before we have to send in troops and planes to get you out...come - to the land of sunshine, to the land of warmth, to a place where all Jews are home. Come to a land of life and love and yes, to a land that is safe for Jews.
Let the deaths of these four be the last; let their deaths be a lesson. In their names, choose life. In honor of their memory, get on the plane.