Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld of Ohev Sholom-The National Synagogue in Washington, D.C., heads to Paris this weekend to deliver the Shabbat morning dvar Torah at the Don Isaac Abravanel synagogue, which was attacked by pro-Palestinian protesters on Sunday.
“When a synagogue is attacked anywhere in the world, it’s not just an attack on that synagogue, it’s an attack on every synagogue,” Herzfeld said.
When he hears of attacks on Jewish places of worship, he always tries to reach out to them, he said. In this case, he will get a chance to visit and carry a message to the congregants.
According to reports, about 100 young protesters stormed the Abravanel synagogue July 13, throwing rocks and other objects and trapping worshippers inside. JTA reported that three Jews were hospitalized following the incident.
In addition to feeling connected to the synagogue, Herzfeld said he plans to bring the message that anti-Semites will often couch their prejudice in anti-Israel sentiment, but an attack on one religion isn’t just an attack on that religion, he said.
“This is not just an attack on the Jewish people, this is an attack on humanity,” he explained. “That’s an attack on every house of prayer, on every religion in the world.”
Herzfeld asked members of his congregation to send messages along with him.
“What we’ve learned from our past is that it does not work to be quiet and pretend there is no such thing as anti-Semitism in the world,” said the rabbi. “There will always be anti-Semites who will attack the Jewish people.”
Marc Shapiro is a staff reporter for WJW sister publication, Baltimore Jewish Times.