Europe,  Interfaith

A small, good thing

Reader jan frank provides a translation of a recent article from the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant:

More than 40 young Moroccan and Jewish adolescents, together with other members of their families, began renovating the old Jewish Cemetery in the Zeeburg quarter of East Amsterdam. According to Rabbi Lody van de Kamp, the general idea is that these young people will thoroughly refurbish the neglected cemetery over the next five Sundays.

The Moroccan youth worker Bensalem Said working for the Connect foundation in Amsterdam-West heard how neglected the cemetery looked and suggested to the rabbi that they join forces.

The dilapidated cemetery is a jumble of old tombstones and is completely overgrown. The Zeeburg cemetery is one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Western Europe. Between 1714 and 1942, more than 100,000 people were buried there, according to Van de Kamp. There were mostly poor Jews before the Second World War, whose descendents did not return from the concentration camps.

The JMNA was founded in 2006 by representatives of the Moroccan and Jewish communities to reach a better understanding of one another, as a response to various anti-Semitic incidents in the capital.

The rabbi praised Said for his initiative to refurbish the Zeeburg cemetery as a joint effort. This initiative makes him “a model of solidarity, an example for everybody,” said Van de Kamp. It is expected that a total of 100 Moroccan and Jewish youth will be involved in the
project.

Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

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