Fury on Facebook

April 4, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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A Sydney rabbi has taken to Facebook to vent his anger following the daubing of his synagogue’s wall with a swastika.

Maroubra’s Rabbi Yossi Friedman was alerted to the daubing by congregants who had also spotted swastikas daubed on a bus stop timetable and advertisement and on the access to a pedestrian bridge near the synagogue.

Rabbi Yossi Friedman and the swastika on the shul wall

Rabbi Yossi Friedman and the swastika on the shul wall

Rabbi Friedman told J-Wire: “I could not sleep. This was the first time this has occurred since I became rabbi at Maroubra. I was not long back from a multicultural event at the air force where I am the NSW Jewish chaplain. We had been discussing the importance of respecting others’ cultures and then I experience this. I felt had to pen my thoughts.”

Rabbi Friedman wrote: ” I am furious.

Some low-life coward has drawn swastika graffiti on the side of my Synagogue and on nearby bus-stops. It has literally ‘hit home’ for me and I can’t stop thinking about it. This is an assault against the Jewish People and directed towards those in my community. I can NOT be silent. What would drive a person to such deplorable action? Why such hatred?

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A Synagogue is a unique and special place. Inside of our walls, time ticks to a different rhythm. Within our Sanctuary, individuals assemble to reflect, pray and meditate. Within our halls, people of all ages gather to acquire wisdom and knowledge. Inside of our kitchen, women, men and children gather to cook meals for the needy. In short, a Synagogue is a symbol of peace. It’s where we support each other during times of crises and celebrate together in times of festivity. It’s purpose: To inspire anyone who enters its doors into becoming a better person. So why would anyone want to deface it?

We are privileged to live in a country such as Australia. Its citizens are privileged to self-determination and experience many freedoms that are not afforded the citizens of other countries. One of those freedoms is the freedom to choose one’s religious beliefs and the expression of those beliefs. Only three days ago I attended the Royal Australian Air Force 95th anniversary celebrations in the presence of

Bus stop

Bus stop

the Defence and Air-Force Chiefs and heard inspiring speeches calling for greater inclusion and diversity within our Defence Forces. If our Defence Force is to represent our country’s diverse population, then this is the way it must go. It reminded me that as Australian’s we must be proud of the many cultures and minorities that make up Australia and we must fight to ensure that we are all accorded dignity, respect and the right to religious freedom. Because if these freedoms were to be taken away, it will only be a matter of time before the other freedoms would go too.

Any individual that attacks one of the ethnic or religious groups that comprises our nation does not deserve to be called an Australian. Racial hatred has no place in our society and is a direct betrayal of

Removing the offending stwastika

Removing the offending swastika

our country’s core values.

In less than three weeks Jews all over the world will be celebrating the Festival of Passover in which we recall G-d’s deliverance of the Jewish people from the oppressive yoke of ancient

Egypt. Yet this Festival has come to symbolise much more. It represents the continuous Jewish struggle for freedom and the ultimate victory that will be gained over all of our oppressors.

Over our three and a half thousand-year history since the Exodus, the Jews have suffered greatly. Yet we have endured. We have overcome many oppressive regimes and outlived many cruel, fanatical despots.

 

Bridge

Bridge

I have one message to impart to that vandal who desecrated my Synagogue and insulted my people: I pity you. Your hatred won’t harm us, it will only consume YOU. So for your own sake, let it go.

Oh, and one more message. You were damn lucky that I wasn’t there to catch you.”

Local state member of parliament Ron Hoenig told J-Wire: “The Synagogue is a place of peace and charity, the hateful swastikas scrawled on our walls and local landmarks are a gross attack our community.

We can’t afford to become complacent about multiculturalism or our embrace of religious freedoms, lest those hard earned liberties become lost to intolerance and bigotry.”

Vic Alhadeff, CEO of The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies commented: “Nazi swastikas are not just graffiti. They are the ultimate symbol of racial hatred, and the cowards who engaged in this act of bigotry are to be thoroughly condemned. There is no place for such behaviour in our society.”

Comments

One Response to “Fury on Facebook”
  1. phil levy says:

    Well done to Rabbi Yossi Friedman for speaking out publicly against this disgusting abuse.

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