Five years ago, when I became an American citizen, I was asked to share some thoughts in the Wexner newsletter. I wrote the following about my experience as a French Jew and antisemitism: “what upset me the most was the silence of the French non-Jewish majority. As Elie Wiesel once said ‘to remain silent is the greatest sin of all’. I remember marching the streets of Paris and protesting with as many as 150,000 Jews, but feeling the silence and the indifference of too many people.”
Sunday’s march was long overdue. Forget the heads of state; the nearly four million were the real leaders. While it is comforting, most French Jews know that if the terrorists had only attacked Jews the reaction would not have been the same. But when I see people marching saying “Je suis juif, je suis Charlie” the sin of silence is slowly vanishing.
Nir Buchler, a Wexner Graduate Fellowship alum (Class 22), grew up in France. He graduated with a Masters in Public Policy and an MA in Jewish Professional Leadership from Brandeis in 2011 and worked for 2 years at the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest as an Associate in planning and allocations and for the Community Relations Committee. Since July of 2013, Nir has been working for the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County as a development officer. Nir can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.