What we talk about – Part 1

“Voices from Europe” guest editor Jane Braden-Golay introduces French Jews who mix Klezmer and Salsa, an American Jew living in the UK who feels that “being hated is part of being Jewish” and a smorgasbord of community news. Read More

By / March 9, 2015
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To start off this week, I have collected some bits and pieces of what we’re currently discussing over here, and I hope this helps provide context for “Voices from Europe”! But first, some housekeeping:

I am excited about “Voices from Europe” because I see it as an opportunity to explore some of the core questions of Jewish peoplehood across communities, across the big pond and across different frames of reference. While I try to bring a variety of experiences and stories together, I’d also be really interested in hearing about what you want to know. Tweet at me and don’t be shy!

So without further ado:

1. Introducing JewSalsa


Meet David, Sterna and their friends, a group of young French Jews who have been mixing up the Jewish scene in France with their combo of Klezmer, Salsa and Oriental music, lots of dancing, flash mobs in downtown Paris and trips to Cuba and Israel all exploring and expressing a new spin on Jewishness!

They have been good friends of mine and my colleagues here at EUJS, teaching countless Jewish students the basics of Salsa and Bachata (or as they call it when done on a Friday night: Shabbachata!) and leading an incredible mash-up Havdala at our annual Summer University (more on that later). They also made a fun Shana Tova video (“Apple is dancing Salsa”) with our participants at Summer U’ 2012 in Budapest. They are definitively worth checking out… And if you find yourself in Paris, drop by one of their events!


2.  Is being hated just part of the deal?

I believe that the diversity of experiences, reactions and opinions about anti-Semitism in Europe and our future as a Jewish community here is connected to the fundamental question of how we understand what it means to be a Jew, and how we want to live as Jews. There are, of course, many different point of views and opinions on this.

One take is by author and broadcaster Michael Goldfarb, who concludes in this article about his personal experience with anti-Semitism in BBC Magazine that “(…) being hated is part of being Jewish.”

What do you think? What is part of being Jewish for you? Let me know @JaneBradenGolay!


3. Meanwhile, in communities across Europe:

Thousands are checking out the Jewish “return rights” in Portugal.

Italian city celebrates the reopening of their 13th century Scolanova synagogue.

Local Muslims mobilize help to save Belgian synagogue, but also: Jewish students targeted by BDS activists on Belgian campus.

German Muslim leader says Jewish fears are “justified”.


(Image: David JewSalsa,