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Gheula Canarutto Nemni

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Have you ever been empowered? Lessons from Jli, the Jewish National Retreat

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A call for the survival of the Jewish nation

Dear friends of the Left Wing,

Dear friends of the Right Wing,

What you are going to read is a call for survival.

Survival of a nation that was able to live up to day thanks to unending miracles. While today that same nation is at risk of implosion.

Our nation is famous for its different thoughts and approaches.

Mental maps so different, one from the other, that they helped us grow up.

The four sons of the Hagada have their own ways to interpret history; the 12 tribes each had its special way of serving G-d.

The Jewish nation nurtured itself on the diversity of opinions, of the different waves of thought.

Discussion, divergency of points of views is one of the holding columns that preserved our nation’s life.

One directional thoughts are not part of our Jewish DNA.

The prophets fearlessly opposed themselves to kings, Moses discussed with G-d.

The Talmud is but the result of unending discussions and dissertations.

However, during the last few months, a part of this equilibrium broke. Discussions are not simple exchanges anymore, but poisoned arrows. Different opinions have become like stones that contribute to the building of walls to separate people who see the world in different ways.

To save with words migrants, we are destroying our nation.

By deciding Israeli policy sitting around a coffee table and tapping on Facebook, we are dividing Jews into bad and good.

To comment on the policy of an American president, we throw away 3300 years of survival.

Something is wrong here.

G-d didn’t make us survive until today to be like this.

He doesn’t want to see his nation nation falling out due to unuseful discussions that move only the keyboard keys and nothing more.

We didn’t survive until now to slay each other on social media and divide people into Right and Left, like they were road signs.

We are sinking our boat with our own hands, the same boat that miraculously resisted the worst storms.

If we Jews are still here today it’s because G-d knows we can contribute an added value.

He trusts that we won’t get lost in the waves of unuseful words directed at a policy that someone else is already deciding.

We are here to do, to help advance, to add more light and values.

We are here to unite people under the umbrella of universal rights, rights that we taught the world.

We are here to say what others are not brave enough to pronounce.

The Jewish soul, of every single Jew on earth, receives its vitality from the deepest level of G-d.

Two of us have three opinions, but what really counts is our essence. That is the same, undifferentiated, indistinct, soul. An essence that does not look leftwards or rightwards but only upwards, towards its Creator.

Our sanctuary was destroyed because Jews, instead of being one against their enemy, got divided internally.

And they didn’t realise that in this way, when everyone sits around his/her own table and refuses to hear what the other one is saying, when we shout on Facebook and Twitter, on mass media, we are playing into the favour of our enemies, helping them in their strategy of our destruction.

And our enemy just needs to sit there and watch and wait.

Hillel and Shamai wore different lenses through which they saw the world. One had lenses of pity, the other of rigor.

Each of them interpreted law in his own way. If they lived today there would be shirts with ‘I am with Hillel’ and ‘only Shamai is right’.

There would be meetings, public demonstrations, provocations. In their period diversity was an opportunity for growth. Today, we would not be same nation without their discussions, which G-d Himself as referee.

Who, at a certain point said: this and this are my living words.

What you read is an invitation.

To stay together, and to discuss in a respectful and civil way.

We are surrounded on the right and on the left by enemies. Let’s not break into factions of right and left.

We are truly a small number of people, yet of we stay together we become many tiny surviving miracles.

Only together can the weak light of one become the brightest.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

Please do not celebrate the Holocaust Remembrance Day

We cannot define ourselves as the people of remeberance.

We are not a nation that stops and cries  in front of historical artifacts kept in a display case.

We are not the nation of museums, people who catch each other saying ‘once upon a time’…

The concept of memory in and of itself does not belong to us.

Memories that allow you to get up as the same person as the previous day are not part of our DNA.

We don’t love commemorations and cliches, we don’t scatter ashes or keep mourning for longer than the law requires.

Our calendar has special dates to remember the destroyed sanctuary of Jerusalem. Our year has special days dedicated for when we cry over the lost golden period of our history.

At the beginning of that day, we sit down on the floor, we say sad prayers, we tell stories about destruction and death. But in the afternoon we get up, we dry our eyes and we ask G-d to build something new on our tears. We ask Him to transform all the past heaps of rubble into a foundation superior to the old one.

In Hebrew, a cemetery is called a ‘house of life’. It is a place where people who left this world rest in peace. But it is even a place of warning, of reflection, where those who are alive recall the real goal they were created for and their moral duty to use, in a positive way, every minute of life they were granted.

Jewish memory is never only a simple memory for its own sake.

Jewish memory is a path that takes one on a journey to a better self.

During Passover, when we tell the miracolous escape from Egypt, we eat matzah to remember how hastily Jews ran away from their enslavement. We dip bitter herbs to recall the bitter taste of being subjugated to somebody else. But at the end we celebrate freedom, our ability to keep our values, traditions and thoughts free from any external influence.

Celebration focuses on the past, it helps to treasure and transmit its stories and lessons. But celebration means to become stronger, more aware, thanks to those mistakes, to those succeses and  those pains, that belong to the past.

Memory helps us walk the paths of tomorrow in a better way.

There is no instant of our life that cannot become a springboard. Even the most painful events can become the first of the next steps.

As runners on a historical course, we study the past match so we can be better runners in the next game.

The word zecher, memory, shares the same root with rakaz, to concentrate.

We remember our life and we concentrate on the past days so we are able to live our future in a better way.

When we commemorate our dead, we don’t only stop in front of their pictures and cry. We gather people to study, we offer food and drink in their memory,  trying to give continuity to those things death has stopped.

So…

If today you are heading to a Holocaust memorial, if you are going to listen to a survivor’s personal story, if you are opening the pages of Anne Frank’s diary, if you are crying for our dead, please do all these things in our way.

Listen and learn, read and reflect, process a personal change.

In Jewish history past tense always runs with present.

Past is suspended until the next breath.

Memory is when children finish what their fathers left incomplete.

Memory is the next generation that brings life again where is there is destructiion and death.

Memory for Jews is transforming a sigh into a better future day.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

Open letter to President Obama on climate change and it consequence on terrorism

Schermata 2017-05-11 alle 22.18.56Dear President Obama,

A few days ago your words filled the air of Milano, the town where I live.

You gave an interesting perspective about technology; about the impact it is having on our children’s future. You spoke about healthy food and waste.

And then you spoke about immigration, about refugees who suffer from food shortages because of the climate change and how this has an impact on unemployment.

“I am certain that this is part of the problem that instigates radicalization and terrorism in many countries of the Middle East and South Asia. If many young people are unemployed they will channel their energies in an unhealthy way.” These were your words. I read them three times. It was hard for me, as a parent and as an educator, to believe that unemployment can be claimed as one of the causes of terrorism. It was against the values I was raised in, against all my credos; to delude oneself into thinking that a person can arrive to the point of killing somebody else simply because he himself does not have a job.

Dear President Obama, we cannot encourage the future generations in the belief that everything revolves around a job, material needs, and money.

Yes, we need these things. Food and work should be universally granted rights.

But life is complicated, and sometimes you can be unemployed, and maybe even without any food in the fridge, due to an economic crisis period or a war.

But none of these conditions can be used as a justification for killing young people in a disco, putting a bomb in a bus or throwing an airplane into the Twin Towers.

Most of the terrorists who shook our world with their heinous crimes were not unemployed or hungry. In fact, some of them were educated people, educated under a Western point of view. And extremist Islam too.

In Middle East, South Asia and Europe, people channel their energies in unhealthy way, simply because no one is nourishing their souls in a positive way.

Our society is a big ideological vacuum, where violent ideologies are free to burrow their roots. We don’t provide young generations with real values. We are trying to nourish only their bodies, and maybe their culture, sometimes. Yet we are neglecting their souls. This is the reason why youngsters run towards harmful ideologies as they grow up. Human beings are made of flesh, and a soul. Of body and spirit. We need to nourish both of these dimensions.

New generations are hungry for values; they are thirsty for life’s principles and goals.

If you wish for real human progress, you cannot deal only with the material aspects of life. You can give a person millions of dollars, but if you deprive him of a goal, of an objective to run for, he will be the emptiest person in the world, ready to be filled with good or evil.

We should do our best to provide a healthy education to every individual. This goal, this directive, depends on you. It depends on all those who can change our world.

It is not climate change that makes people turn to terrorism. It is not dry fields. It is dryness in education, in values.

We must provide them with moral food too.

Sincerely,

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

P.S. You mentioned that activists need to propose pragmatic solutions. If you are interested, I have them ready for you.

 

 

Why the world is so afraid to use the word ‘terrorist’

Why the world is so afraid to use the word ‘terrorist’

By Gheula Canarutto Nemni

Dear world, did you really think pedestrians would be over run by cars only in Jerusalem’s streets?

Did you really hope knives would strike only those who walk on disputed sidewalks?

Dear world do you realize you let yourself be deceived by media headlines and geopolitical assumptions, which describe the Middle East as a very distant, universe?

You hid your head in the sand to avoid feeling the first signals of an internal war. You closed your eyes when faced with the 2017 Jewish European exodus, in front of the terror attacks that killed men, women and children at the Jewish school gates, at the cashiers of the Hyper Casher.

Europe was not born as a U.N resolution. It was not settled by nations which were coming back home. European legitimacy was never discussed by politicians, actors and boycott movements.

So why do car rampages and terror attacks happen in London, Nice, Paris, Berlin, and Bruxelles too?

Why does all this also happen so far from Israel?

What ideology do they share, those individuals who go around looking for a victim in Israeli streets and those who kill in front of the British Parliament?

Dear world, the time has come for you to open your eyes and understand who is standing in front of you. The time has come to wake up and shake yourself from your pacifist dullness nourished with free tolerance.

This is the only way you can say, one day, I really did something to save my children’s future.

They want to deprive you of those values you fought so hard for. They are using your efforts for integration to bring you towards disintegration.

They hate your culture, your democracy. They hate your dances, your music, your diversity.

Dear world, the time has come to be brave and define that person who runs into a crowd of people who are watching the fireworks on the Boulevard des Anglais as a terrorist. The individual who runs with his car into people who are looking for a Christmas present in Berlin is a terrorist.

They are not drunk, they are not lonely wolves. They don’t suffer from depression or behaviour issues. They are terrorists who are killing innocent people whether on British, French, German or Jewish soil.

They are not only fighting to bring the borders back to before ’67. They don’t want only a part of Israeli territory. They want all Israel. And Europe. They want the whole world.

Truth, honesty and consistency are powerful weapons. Please world, start to use them before it is too late.

17504424_10211180074553438_1587843083399641041_o

 

Yom Hazikaron. And that buzz that touches your soul

Schermata 2016-05-11 alle 15.05.42This is our nation.

A nation of people who stop their crazy run, their fast cars, their surfing the net, their thoughts, in the middle of the highway, in the middle of the day. And think. About those who gave up to their lives in order to allow us to breath and walk and live freely on our land.

This is the Jewish nation.

Women, men and children who fight for a carriage in the supermarket and who usually run to get the first place in the row. They, who argue over every tiny detail. Yet it is they who are able to be one. Letting their thoughts overcome differences in a common and shared sorrow and pain.

These are the Jews.

Businessmen, teachers, professors, artists, workers, engineers, doctors and dreamers. Who, in the middle of a new project, during a coffee in a bar, while withdrawing money from the bank are able to shift their minds from their routine and concentrate on deeper things.

These are our soldiers.

Young men who have just started understanding what life is, what they can be when they grow up and end up in a battle field with only one aim in their head: to defend and protect their nation from any evil and harm.

This is the sound of the soul.

This long buzz that enters through our ears during Yom Hazikaron, that strikes the core of our hearts and teaches us that a real hero is not the person who jumps from a plane or climbs a dangerous mountain. But a person, maybe not so physically strong, who can walk besides you on the sidewalk and sit on the same bus and then suddenly, when you and others are in danger, can jump and climb to guarantee you a future life.

During this day, in which the world just goes on, a whole country and nation stops to think and thank those young angels who turned off their own dreams to let mine and yours become true.

During this day in which memory is not an intellectual box, but a life credo and system. Where those who are not here anymore become a pulsating image in our lives.

During these moments I raise my eyes above and thank G-d for the privilege of being part of this unique Jewish world.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/yom-hazikaron-and-that-buzz-that-touches-the-soul/

Where was G-d during Purim (and the Holocaust)?

THE TIMES OF ISRAEL | http://www.timesofisrael.comshoah jews

Where was G-d during Purim (and the Holocaust)?

GHEULA CANARUTTO NEMNI

There has been no generation without its Haman. Without an individual eager to put an end to the Jewish nation.

Many have dreamt and still are dreaming to see Jews become an archeological find, a memory, a history lesson.

Every generation has seen its Haman rising and trying to eradicate any Jewish trace from our earth.

Even during those years in which it was hard to tell between Jews and others.

Even during those decades in which Judaism was relegated to some hours a year, to rare transmitted rites and liturgies.Even during those moments in which Jews were trying their best to become a king’s best friends, because that way, they were convinced, was the only way to go on with their destiny.

G-d is not mentioned in the Megillah, in Ester’s scroll, not even once.

You need to look for Him between the rows, in the acronyms of words, in allusions and expressions.

His name is not there, it has vanished into nowhere. As happened in the lives of Jews during that historical period.

G-d is pushed to the sidelines of the Megillah, as Jews have pushed Him to the sidelines of their own lives.

Then Haman arrives and everything drastically changes.

As Jews come to know his plot to exterminate them, they start sending delegations to the king, they start using all their diplomatic means, Queen Esther herself puts her own life at risk.

But at the same time she tells her brothers and sisters, look inside yourselves.

Why does the world consider us different, though we have tried again and again to meld with the surrounding society and make it forget our original identity?

And Jews reunited and prayed. They tore their clothes and fasted for three days. They reminded their own children who they really were, in that precise moment in wich they were threatened as never before.

When the Haman of the generation gets up and declares ‘let’s cleanse the world of this annoyingly different nation’ Jewish people, those people who a few minutes before were trying to hide who they were, find and affirm their identity, precisely then.

Where was G-d during Purim? Where was He during the tragedies that hit His nation again and again?

G-d is in the awakened faith of those who thought not to have any at all, He is in that Jew who suddenly feels like caring about his identity again.

G-d is in those Jews who risked their own lives to put on tefilin in Auschwitz, while in the comfort of their homes, they never put them on

G-d is in those last recommendations to sons before the train for a safe haven left, ‘Son, celebrate your bar mitzvah, do not forget’.

G-d is the son’s answer, made through the window of that train, ‘but father what does a bar mitzvah mean?’

G-d is the secret meetings to celebrate the seder, at risk of being sent to a gulag for the next fifty years.

G-d is in Daniel Pearls’ words ‘I am a Jew’ when the sword is already coming down on his head.

G-d is always with us though we hardly see Him. He is there, in the Jewish soul that shakes itself from the dust just in those periods in which it should try to hide itself even more.

When Haman rises more and more, when he becomes so important as to to sit unpunished in the U.N, when he can speak loudly and the world claps its hands to his anti-Semitic plans, when being Jewish is the most inconvenient and uncomfortable thing that can happen to you, there you can find G-d.

G-d is there, in the joy, in the proudness of belonging and declaring, despite all odds, ‘I am a Jew’.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

 

Open letter to Mark Zuckerberg about his standing for Muslims

Dear Mark Zuckerberg,

I just read your status in which you welcome Muslims in Facebook Community.

‘As a Jew, my parents taught me that we must stand up against attacks on all communities. Even if an attack isn’t against you today, in time attacks on freedom for anyone will hurt everyone’ you say.

Dear Mark, Jews have been standing in first line for thousands of years, defending, protecting and teaching human rights.

We were standing in front of Mount Sinai more than 3,300 years ago, hearing G-d teaching us about slaves rights, their right to get food and a comfortable bed. And where there is not enough food and only one bed, the landlord has to sleep on the floor and give up eating. Because his slave has the priority. And after seven years that slave must be freed.

And this message was given when slavery was the basis and richness of the other societies.

G-d taught us to love strangers, to respect them, paying attention not to remind them where they are coming from. And this happened in a period when nations were conquering others’ lands, killing all those who were living there.

As a Jew you are not allowed even to harm animals and you have to respect and protect nature.

G-d wants us to respect and help every creature in the world.

This is Torah.

But Torah teaches us also even something else.

It teaches us ‘aniei irecha kodmim’, the poor people of your town must be helped and fed before everybody else.

If you encounter somebody who is need, who does not belong to your community and in the same time there is somebody who belongs to your community, and he is in need, the latter one has the absolute precedence.

In every battle you, as a Jew, engage, remember first you are part of a family. And your moral duty is to defend and protect your family first.

Our sages teach us that the trial for us is not standing only for others.

Our trial is standing for our brothers and sisters, for our own nation.

In the past years and especially in the past months, antisemitism has reached peaks that it was not touching since World War II.

Social media offer free lessons on how to stab Jews, how to recognize them while they are walking in the middle of the street.

On Facebook you can find hundreds of thousands of groups that instigate to the death of Jews, to Israel annihilation.

When I open Facebook, I am afraid. As a Jew I am scared.

I reported hundreds of times these violent and antisemitic inciting profiles and groups.

Everytime I get the same answer. It does not violate our standards.

It does violate a standard. My moral standard.

Dear Mark, since your baby Max was born, you are understanding a new whole range of feelings that you have never known before.

G-d tells us that when we want really to learn what it means standing for something, we should start standing for our homes,

If you really are standing for peace and love, please take care of those pages inciting against me, make me feel safe as I declare my Jewish identity.

Make me fell you are striving for my freedom too, for my freedom of walking through Facebook pages without the fear of meeting two years old children filmed by their parents while branding a knife and singing the song ‘death to the Jews’.

This is what I have been taught. If you really want to be in the first line for a cause, firtsable stand for the causes that belong to you.

Hoping that Max and my children too, will live in a world where colors, religion and belief, will be only an identity and life style sign. And not a target for hatred.

A Facebook user

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

 

Schermata 2015-12-11 alle 15.07.02

 

When I sit in darkness G-d will be my light

hanukkah nazismWhy do we light these candles every year? you ask me, my son.

Why do we go on repeating this ritual every year and every day of this festival we insist that a new flame shall dance in our homes?

My child, Hanukkah is not only a beautiful story.

When the Maccabees defetaed the enemy they did not go around the streets with their swords, as all other nations used to do. They had more important things in their mind.

They ran to the Beth Hamikdash, the sanctuary in Jerusalem, with one main goal. To rekindle the menorah, the seven branched candelabra. They did not organize parties or massive celebrations, but they dedicated all their time looking for a sealed, still pure, oil flask. All they wanted was to bring back to life with the outmost pureness, the light that for years had been lighting from Jerusalem, the whole world.

They found a sealed flask, but it was only one.

And this little flask resisted with its own strenghts against winds, oxygen and the laws of nature and it went on dancing and lighting for eight uninterrupted days.

 

We Jews are used to walk in the dark. Every step we undertake there is an obstacle, a challenge, an enemy, to wait for us.

 

And yet nothing could make us ever think ‘this is the end. I will surrender’.

My little child, we did not come to this world for observing in a passive way what is going on.

Our soul was not detached from the Divine throne to suffer events without shouting back.

G-d cared to blow inside us His deep essence for only one reason. Because we can.

Everyone of us is that flask, everyone has inside himself that strenght to resist, the power to change.

We are all able to overwhelm ourselves and the world that surrounds us with positivity and absolute light.

My son, Hanukkah is Jewish history that repeats itself, again and again.

It’s the story of a girl who just lost a few weeks ago her father and brother in a terror attack and did not want to surrender to our enemies and their plans.

We, Jews, do not give evil a break.

And from the last, weakest ray of light, from the last drop of faith that survives in every human soul, we kindle a new fire, bigger and stronger than before.

‘Do not joy my enemy, because I fell down but I got up’, Micha the prophet said and the Israeli girl, who was ready to get married when two days before the wedding she had to bury her father and brother, this girl wanted this sentence printed on her new postponed wedding invitation.

Remember my son.

 

We, Jewish nation, blind darkness with endless light.

 

Hanukkah sameach

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

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