Friday, August 16, 2013

Add Brussels to the List of Where Jews Need to Hide. Again.

Add Brussels to the List of Where Jews Need to Hide. Again.
The last remaining Jewish school in central Brussels has instructed its students to remove their kippot and wait until they are inside the building to put it on.
By: Lori Lowenthal Marcus
The Jewish Press
Published: August 16th, 2013

Inline image 1
Atheneum Maimonides, a Jewish school in central Brussels. Note the video cameras, unmarked entrance, absence of windows on lower levels.

For years there have been reports of Jews being warned not to wear items that identify them as Jewish in places where there are large or numbers are particularly aggressive anti-Semites. People are told it is best not to wear Magen David necklaces outside their clothing, or kippot on their heads when visiting certain neighborhoods in France, in England, certainly throughout much of the Arab Middle East or in parts of North Africa.

But now a Jewish school in Belgium has issued an edict to its schoolchildren: do not wear kippot near the school until you are safely inside the steel-paneled fortified building. The Maimonides School in the Anderlecht neighborhood of Brussels was started shortly after World War II, at the initiative of the director of the Jewish orphanage, Holocaust survivor S.B. Bamberger, with assistance from Brussels’ rabbi.

It was an attempt to reclaim Jewish life in Brussels after the German occupation. The school opened its doors on September 1, 1947 on the Boulevard Poincar√©. Although it is a pluralistic Jewish school, it follows kashrut and boys are required to wear kippot, and all students are expected to dress “decently,” according to the school’s website.

Over the years the neighborhood in which the school is located has deteriorated. Anderlecht used to be called “little Jerusalem” because there were so many Jews. The neighborhood is now increasingly populated by PLS CONTINUE READING:

Lori Lowenthal Marcus
610.664.1184 (phone)
610.664.1186 (fax)
on twitter: @LoriLMarcus

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