(Page 4 of 4)
Berlin — He described a troubling situation in which Jews are being attacked by Muslims, neo-Nazis and ordinary Germans.
But one prominent victim of such an attack begs to differ. Rabbi Daniel Alter, 53, was brutally beaten on a Berlin street in August while his 7-year-old daughter was threatened with death.
Alter, whom the attackers identified as Jewish through his public wearing of a yarmulke, was treated for head injuries and a fractured cheek. The attackers, whom police described as being of “Arab descent,” have not yet been apprehended.
But Alter dissented from Nahshon’s bleak view. He emphasized instead the reaction of Germans from many walks of life today, when anti-Semitism rears its head. In his case, he noted, neighbors and friends spearheaded a rally in his support days after the attack; more than 1,000 Berliners attended. Many in the crowd, including Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, wore yarmulkes in solidarity with Jews.
“Berlin Tragt Kippa” was the front-page headline in the popular tabloid the Berliner Zeitung the next day, meaning, “Berlin is wearing a kippah.”
In addition to the mayor, several celebrities were pictured wearing yarmulkes, including actor Wolfgang Bahro and jazz musician Andrej Hermlin.
“We have had a tremendous amount of public support,” Alter said. “It helped me and my daughter understand that we are the insiders in our society and those who beat us are the outsiders.” Alter, who has worked to foster dialogue between Jews and Muslims, spoke at the rally, where he said, “Our Berlin has no room for racism.”
Dilek Kolat, integration senator for the State of Berlin, which is both a city and a German state, asked Alter not to leave Berlin. “We need you here,” she said at the rally.
“Be sure I’m not going to leave,” Alter replied. “They might have broken my bones, but my desire for interreligious dialogue and love for peace remains unbroken.”
Contact Donald Snyder at firstname.lastname@example.org