We are dwarfs on the shoulders of giants…

I’ve repeated many times in my life

Who am I to do this?

This message  is definitely not for me…

I’ve repeated these sentences many times in my life.

Until I’ve been invited as a speaker to Jli, the Jewish National Retreat.

And there 1200 people, from different cultural, religious and geographical backgrounds, made me change my mind.

I found Jews thirsty for their history, for their identity, for the next steps to undertake.

Jews who woke up so early every morning, in the few days they had of vacation. Every minute was an opportunity to absorb messages, values, lessons from a religion in which they are born but of which no one wanted to teach them anything about.

Jews eager to fill a void in their soul, to recover from years lived in a too similar way to the outer world.

Jews who wished to be Jewish again.

I was called to be a speaker, but I became a full time listener.

I heard so many stories about people whose parents were Holocaust survivor, I never imagined there were so many still.

I listened to their wish to get out from the safety bubble their parents tried to protect them in.

I sat beside people who grew up without Shabat, without a mezuzah on their door. And without Abraham’s, Isaac’s or Jacob’s G-d.

Jews who found out they belong to a chosen and persecuted nation a few minutes before their parents passed away.

And instead of running away from this uncomfortable identity, they jumped into it with all their mights.

I spent six days with these people and I understood that they were not simple people. But heroes.

A hero is not only a person who jumps into the water to save a drowning fellow.

A hero is a person who dares again and again, leaving its comfort zone, its habits, its safe areas and dares to face the unknown.

The word hero comes from Greek and it means ‘a person who is admired for its courage and outstanding achievments’.

The most outstanding achievement a human being can reach is to try and free himself from his habits, from his usual way and go further.

The couarge does not belong only to those who defeat their enemies.

The courage belongs to those who get up in the morning and challenge their status quo and their own certainties through new thoughts, words and actions,

It’s easy to walk in a path where you’ve already walked in before.

It is much harder to undertake a new path in an unknown place, that has never belonged to us.

Our sages say that moshiach will come in our times beacuse we are dwarfs on the shoulders of our ancentors, who were giants,

But maybe moshiach will come in our days also because now more than ever before, our nation is being enriched by baalei tshuva, Jews who are leaving the void of their souls and coming back home.

In the place where a Baal Teshuva, a returnee to Judaism, stands, a completely righteous person cannot stand.

A giant is not a person who was born tall. A giant is a person who tries to surpass every day the level of the prevoious day.

Thank you to all my new Jli teachers.

And a special thank you to all the amazing staff of Jli who worked so hard for making that miracolous week come true.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

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.

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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/