Above all else, tragedy brings us together.
Having spent the past 10 days participating in the European Union of Jewish Students’ delegation to Brussels and Washington DC for the AJC's Global Forum, alongside 37 young Jewish leaders from across the continent, I became only too aware of the vastly different experiences of the Jewish people from country to country. However, despite these differences, the prevalence of the Jewish values that unite us was only too apparent.
During the programme, we learnt of the callous attack that had struck in our home town of London, not more than a fortnight after the terrible events in Manchester. The solidarity that was offered to the British delegation is symbolic of the strength of global Jewish values, and this was epitomised in the memorial service that was organised by UJS, the Board of Deputies and the AJC. At the initiative of the French delegation, representatives from the global Jewish community stood shoulder to shoulder with the UK, at the same time as Londoners were standing together outside Potters Field Park.
The symbolism of this solidarity needs no explanation, but the expression of our humanity and the power of our shared Jewish and global identity really struck me. I was honoured to be a part of this collective show of unity from communities around the word, in support of my city and my country.
From the ashes of this terrible ordeal came a beautiful display of compassion that knows no bounds. For that I am grateful.
Photos: left, UJS President-elect Josh Holt speaking alongside Board of Deputies CEO Gillian Merron at the solidarity vigil, via @DaliaGrinfeld, President of the German Jewish Student Union, on Twitter. Right, audience stands for one minute's silence at the vigil, via journalist @Esther_Voet on Twitter.