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Gheula Canarutto Nemni

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Letter of a baby killed by the silence of the world

Bye Mum,

Shalom Dad,

I have seen you only for a few instants but my time has arrived.

I love you so much, I cannot believe I will never see you again.

I was  ready to come to the world in two months, I was already imagining how I would taste my mother’s milk, I was wondering how it feels to open your eyes and find out what is around.

But none of these things will never happen in my life.

I felt the shootings going through the womb, I heard the screams of fear and terror through the amniotic liquid and I understood that something was wrong.

My hearbeat that until that moment was beating at a perfect rythm, started slowing down.

I am not able to explain why everything happened, why a man, whom I have never seen before, wanted to shoot my mum and me.

I heard people saying that all this happened because we were waiting for the bus on a disputed piece of land, that the cause that moves these murderous hands lies in the land itself.

Eighty years ago when this land was only sand, babies, infants and children who did not have time to learn how to talk and walk, were brought to the slaughter house with the same charge: Jude.

Bye grandma and grandpa,

it was an honor to be part of a family that teaches to love while our enemies go on inciting to kill.

Though I was born on the seventh month of pregnancy, though I could breath only for a few days, I can affirm with no doubts that the content of Universal Declaration of Human Rights about the right for life, freedom and safety, is not universally true.

It is not true that every child has the right to a home, a mother and father.

It’s a lie. The world does not try hard to protect every child from cruelty as the U.N Declaration on Youth Rights states.

People who were raised in hate and intolerance made me leave this world with a name, Amiad Yisrael, a name that was never called but only engraved on my gravestone.

The book of my life was closed by democratic societies and mass media that consider the death of a Jew on his land less worthy of the death of other men.

 

My dear love,

let me kiss for the last time the shroud that wraps your tiny life.

Let me say goodbye to your tiny hand and foot, to you heart that bumped inside my body for the last seven months.

Ask in Heaven why all this is happening to us. And please don’t move until you don’t get an answer.

You have been a child for a few instants before the hate of men transformed you in an angel.

Send me a kiss, my little love, a big kiss like that one I would have asked you in a few months if the incitement to violence, if the education to death, did not tear your soul away from me and from this world.

Gheula Canarutto NemniSchermata 2018-12-13 alle 12.39.29

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October 1943. When the Holocaust arrived to the Ghetto of Rome

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October 16th 1943

It was shabbat and the third day of sukkot.

The adults woke up in the middle of night at the noise of shotguns and shouts. The children ran into their parents bed. When everything became silent again, they finally  fell asleep.

In the courtyard of the synagogue the sukkah was waiting for the Jews of Rome to enter and pronounce a blessing.

The prayer shawls were bent the previous day and were waiting to be worn again.

The perfume of the cedar and of the myrtle wafted in the air of the dark synagogue.

It was October 16th, 1943

It was supposed to be another festival day.

Men, women and children were ready to wear their best outfits and walk in the ghetto streets wishing one to the other ‘shabbat shalom e chag sameach’.

The tables were still to be set with the little amount of food that you could buy  with the food ration cards.

A few days before that day, the Nazis had summoned up the chiefs of the Jewish community and threatened them to deport 200 Jews if they did not bring 50 kilos, 100 pounds, of pure gold, in thirty six hours.

The Jews of Rome showered in the office of the Jewish community and offered wedding rings, earrings received for the anniversary, necklaces belonged to the grandmother, until the amount of gold was reached. The gold was collected and brought to the SS col. Herbert Kappler. The Jews of the Ghetto thought this was the price they had to pay to survive the war.

But after a few days, the regular noises of via Portico d’Ottavia, via S. Ambrogio and via del Pianto, were interrupted by the strong noise of the trucks engines and motorbikes, of the soldier boots and of the barking dogs.

Orders shouted in German replaced the joyous festival songs, human beings were thrown into trucks as they were mere objects, mothers and fathers cried feeling on their own skin the imminent detachment from their children, babies were thrown into strangers arms with the hope to save them from deportation and death.

The square was full of people whose dreams, projects, thoughts, were so similar to those of their fellow citizens.

The Jews of Rome had woke up until the previous day, to go and work and earn their livelihood  as millions of other Italians.

But that day they have been reminded of their difference. They have been loaded on trucks and sealed trains which destination is written in giant characters: Auschwitz, a name they have never heard before. Their guilt is irreparable. They are the offspring of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

October 16th, 2018.

When you walk in the streets of the ghetto, if you turn down your eyes on the street, you can read the name, the date of birth and death, of the Italian Jews whose life was interrupted by a murderous hate.

In those same streets where trucks loaded Jews, you can see children coming out from the Jewish school and  walking with their kippah, their yarmulke, on their heads, while hundreds of tourists are eating in the kosher restaurants.

In the Tempio Centrale, the main synagogue, you can hear the same sounds that have been heard with almost no interruption for the last two thousand years.

Our brothers, who were deported and who never came back,

We will catch your prayers where they were interrupted,

We will open your prayer shawls that you have never opened again,

We will say the kiddush that you couldn’t recite anymore,

We will celebrate the festivals, pesach, Shavuot, that you could not share with your beloved and we will finish that sukkot that you were suddenly deprived from.

They have tried to annihilate our bodies in endless ways.

But our spirit, our soul, our attachment to G-d, are indestructible and above all.

Am Israel Chai.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

Excuse me, but I am Jew

Excuse me, but I am a Jew.
This is why a few seconds ago you could see me concentrating and praying with the deepest intentions. And now I am dancing and singing with all my passion.
You can catch me while I am begging G-d and tears are flowing on my face. And in the same time I am shouting joyous words.
I beg you pardon, but I was planned to be an unstable creature.
For 48 hours I blow a horn which sound is similar to the cry of a son, I fast for 25 hours to get all my past mistakes erased and when I arrive to the maximum level of spirituality, when a new page is offered to my life, instead of keeping calm and thoughtful, I inject myself overdoses of joy.
What can I do? I was programmed in this way.
Go and complain with my Creator if you don’t like me as I am.
If you wish to have me more aligned, more balanced and controlled.
If you were looking for a nation that is always constant and the same during time, you arrived to the wrong address.
We Jews are like the moon. Every day we are different than the previous one.
We hope you will excuse us, but we are Jews.
And you can never see us stopping at a certain point or 100% satisfied of what we have reached.
You can never catch us with the ‘arrival’ sign in our hand, because for us every finishing line is a new starting point.
We beg your pardon but we are unable to stop.
And when G-d commands us to be happy, though He knows that happiness is a feeling and feelings are quite impossible to impose on someone, when He asks ‘let the joy enter in your hearts’ a few hours away from our Yom Kippur cries, we do our best to shift our state of mind according to His will.
Excusing us once again for our eclecticism, we beg your pardon already for the coming days, during which we will put aside our reason and logic, pilpul and discussion on the Torah.
We will be very busy celebrating the simple and above every logic fact, that we have been chosen to be part of this nation.
A nation that has never stopped during the last three thousand years,
moving from tears to smiles, from the deepest faith to the greatest discussion, at a dance pace.
Chag sameach!
Gheula Canarutto Nemni
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Have you ever been empowered? Lessons from Jli, the Jewish National Retreat

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

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

 

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