An Update from Paris
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Meet Jennifer, a local Clevelander and Jewish Federation of Cleveland Board of Trustee, who moved her family overseas to France for a year. She now shares with us her experience during the last week.
It was devastating to hear the news of the horrific events that took place at Charlie Hebdo magazine and then the cold blooded murder of the French police officer, but when I heard about the hostages being taken at the kosher market, I cannot explain the mixture of fear, grief, and violation I felt.
For the first time since being in Paris since August, I thought about coming home, but I felt compelled to attend yesterday's somber yet powerful rally. I begrudgingly forced my teen daughter to go with me due to the historical significance of participating in an event like this.
As we got off the metro (which was filled beyond capacity), we were met with throngs of people as far as the eye could see. There were so many signs, posters, and flags. I really wished I could read every one, but there were thousands of heartfelt, personal reflections and no way to do so.
Tears welled up in my eyes when I saw a family holding a French flag, carrying signs that said “Je Suis Juif (I am Jewish),” and wearing kippot. I turned to my daughter Natalie and said, "I know you don't understand this right now, but we are here not only defending democracy and free speech, but we are standing up for that family right there (pointing to the family I had just seen) because we are Jews and they are Jews and that is what our people do. No matter if it's in the United States or Israel or France, we take care of our community when they are in need. Today, Paris Jews need us!"
She laughed at me for crying, but having just been to Israel over winter break, followed by a weekend jaunt to Amsterdam and a visit to the Anne Frank House, I think she is beginning to understand how complicated and scary it can be at times to be a Jew, yet beyond worth it to defend our religion and our people!
This was definitely a day I will never forget and more importantly, I hope it is etched into my daughter's mind forever because NOUS SOMMES JUIFS-WE ARE JEWISH!