On the other hand

March 13, 2022 by Michael Kuttner
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This year Purim is being celebrated in the shadow of death and destruction on the continent of Europe not seen since the dark days of the Second World War.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to be living in the comparative safety and security of free and democratic countries need to take to heart the lessons that this Festival teaches us.

Unlike our brethren who during the fateful years from 1933 to 1945 had very few havens to find sanctuary Jews today know that Israel will always be there for them.

The following two videos epitomize the stark contrast between then and now.

When the Kindertransport children were sent by desperate German, Austrian and Czech parents to the United Kingdom they were in most cases destined never to be reunited again after the impending Shoah. “Into the Hands of Strangers” is the title of a book describing that particular nightmare. Although well-intentioned many children ended up in places where they were complete strangers either because the host families were not Jewish or there were no Jewish communities in the villages and towns to which they had been sent.

Others, like my late uncle, were incarcerated as teenagers on the Isle of Man as enemy aliens and subsequently shipped off to Canada and Australia.

This video shows Ukrainian Jewish children being welcomed in Israel with love and warmth. Some of these children who have already lost their parents are arriving in the Jewish State and will be nurtured in an atmosphere suffused with traditional Jewish values.

They have truly arrived home in every sense of the word.

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In one of those Purim “miracles” we are also this year privileged to witness a remarkable change of fortune.

When the Spanish Inquisition expelled the Jews of Spain in 1492 many of those who decided to flee rather than convert found sanctuary in Turkey. They lived there in comparative tolerance yet with a wary eye on what the future might hold. The Ottoman’s cruel treatment of the Armenians and the very difficult conditions imposed on Palestinian Jews should have been warning signs.

With the rise of Islamic nationalism and the virulent anti-Israel policies which accompanied the demise of the secular constitution, the future for Turkish Jews became somewhat less comfortable. Many youngsters made aliyah, foreseeing that the future was going to be fraught with dangers.

This Purim has seen a dramatic change with hitherto frozen relationships between Turkey and Israel suddenly thawing and Israel’s President welcomed as a valued guest. This inevitably has had a positive flow-on effect for the Jewish community as can be seen from this video.


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Finally, this Purim eve Israel welcomed former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife. Both of them are fervent supporters of the Jewish People’s historical and legal rights to sovereignty in the Promised Land.

As the UN and its willing helpers help to rewrite facts it is appropriate as we are about to celebrate Purim to remember that those who plotted in the past to write us out of the pages of history are themselves blotted out.

What better place than the burial site of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron to reinforce this message.


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Chag Purim Sameach

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