il portale dell'ebraismo italiano


punturelloBy Pierpaolo Pinhas Punturello*

When the Jews are invited to read or to bless a Torah passage, at the end of the reading the audience says goodbye with the expression: “Hazak!”. Usually the full expression is “Hazak veEmatz, be strong and brave”. The sentence is taken from Deuteronomy 31,7, using one of Moshe’s recommendations to Yehoshua, as if to say from master to disciple. Lately, an esteemed italki university professor, close to one of the great Italian rabbis due to his personal history, said to me: “A rabbi should have three things: mind, heart and balls”. (I am sorry, I’m quoting). Using the word “balls” he referred to courage and sense of responsibility, for oneself and for Jewish people in general. Then, on January 27, it would be appropriate for Italian Jewish spiritual leaders and rabbis not to bravely go to any place and not to meet any politician who may have formerly supported, or even remained neutral towards acts of anti-Zionism, the new widespread branch of anti-Semitism. A strong absence that can send a clear message to the attempts of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) and to the racist and dangerous anti-Zionistic rhetoric, a stance that might disassociate January 27 from the void rituals of exploitative protests. Strength, courage and identity with… balls.

*Pierpaolo Pinhas Punturello is a rabbi. Translated by Ilaria Vozza, student at the Advanced School for Interpreters and Translators of Trieste University, intern at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.