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But when at the top the idol I is exalted. Diary of the Chief Rabbi 8 May 2022

Loenen 2 2

I am recovering. Well, recovering? I spent all day today writing and making arrangements for pastoral visits in the coming week.

The 4th of May caused quite a stir. My presence at the commemoration in the afternoon on the Field of Honour in Loenen, my speech and laying a wreath together with the German ambassador, has not gone unnoticed. Besides the attention in the NOS News, the Dutch press, also the international Jewish press. It was interesting to see how the press attributed the event to its readership. It was very impressive that during the musical interlude, suddenly and entirely unexpectedly for me, the Hatikwa resounded as part of the interlude. I am not very emotional by nature, but I just couldn't take it anymore. The organisation had deliberately given the musicians this as an assignment for my contribution, my speech. It was very moving and very sensitive and understanding on the part of the organisers of this special ceremony. They wanted to give me a shot in the arm. Because this was the first time in our national history that the ambassador of Germany was present at a national commemoration and would lay a wreath with me.

And when I look at the various foreign Jewish media, I see that the Hatikwa gets the most attention. Certainly they also mention the collective wreath laying, but the Hatikwa won out in the Jewish media. One of my children is a financial professional (don't ask me exactly what he does, because I really don't know) and has a LinkedIn. On that LinkedIn he put the picture of the ambassador of Germany and of me and added as text an explanation of our joint action. He received almost 3500 responses, which seems to be a lot for LinkedIn.

But I have also received almost exclusively positive reactions at the various meetings. I had expected criticism, especially from survivors of the Shoah, so I consulted my Advisory Board before introducing the idea. The reaction of an old lady who was young at heart, but no longer one of the young at heart, was very moving. When she met me, her comment was: I saw your photo with the German Ambassador. Very good, finally!

Today's diary threatens to become a little too long, so in the next diary I will focus on the wonderful Bar Mitzvah party in Amersfoort of the son of my Rabbinical Archaeologist and his wife. And on Friday, just before Shabbat, the lewaja, funeral, of a former director of my IPOR and of the NIK.

But now, by popular demand, the poem I recited in Loenen. Apart from this poem I said a prayer and before the poem a short speech in which I indicated that a war is not black and white and that unsubtlety is the opposite of freedom and peace.

Freedom was fought for

Then, tomorrow and also today

But if freedom means that everything is possible and everything is allowed

And respect for government and for authority disappears

When values and norms fade and disappear

When people think only of themselves and their own

And for the other there is no place and no resort

If it is common to think that this is how it should be

Then this is not freedom for then and not for now

Is it not the freedom that was fought for in the 40s and 45s?

Let us protect and honour modesty and justice

By not tolerating anti-Semitism, discrimination and racial hatred

And realise that anything goes

Does not bring peace, because that too ultimately undermines good authority

But if at the top the idol I is exalted

And that I remains in the lower levels too

Then peace is far from us

And unfortunately war will remain

We are gathered here to pray and to remember

We beg the Eternal One to grant us true shalom

During the corona period and afterwards Chief Rabbi Jacobs will keep a diary for the Jewish Cultural Quarterly. NIW publishes these special pieces on