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Is there a duty to shelter our enemies’ children?

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A congregant recently overheard a story somewhere and asked me whether we Jews have the duty to rescue and shelter the children of antisemites.

My immediate answer was: yes. And still is. Saving human lives is a supremely Jewish value. There’s not such a thing as original sin in Judaism. Babies don’t come to the world with the antisemitic gene.

There is a much-quoted and misunderstood sentence by Yitzhak Shamir: “Poles suck antisemitism together with their mother’s milk”. But I think it referred to education and the danger of absorbing stereotypes from the older generations. Can anyone deny that this is precisely what has happened to the last generations of Polish citizens? Just look at what they vote for.

There’s not such a thing such a gene of antisemitism or racism.

A story came then to my mind. It was told to me by some elderly Roma I met in Italy in the 90s, during the wars in the former Yugoslavia.

For centuries, the Roma community has prospered in that slice of land, where the Austrian Empire bordered with the Ottomans. They were then chased by the Nazis first, the Communists then and subsequently, in the 90s, by Serbian and Croatian nationalists, who share the same hate for the Roma.

The Roma resisted as they have always done. Moving elsewhere, that is Italy.

The story I have heard goes........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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