The Light from Brussels

(l-r) Adam Amir, Or Gerner, Samuel Fuks
(l-r) Adam Amir, Or Gerner, Samuel Fuks

By David Cygielman

With the recent shootings in San Bernardio, California and Savannah, Georgia, along with the attacks in Paris, there is a darkness in the world today. As Moishe House has expanded in Europe, this darkness has hit close to home: terror struck a mere 100 meters from Moishe House Paris, a call of suspicious activity outside Moishe House London was reported and we recently had to remove the public photographs from Moishe House Warsaw. This is the goal of terrorism: to create fear and an inability to live a free and bountiful life.

Each week I receive a beautiful email from a friend who splits his time between America and Israel. His writing speaks about many things but always comes back to fighting darkness by pursuing light. How can we, each in our own small way, create enough flickers of light to overtake the darkness in our world? As my friend pleaded in his most recent email, “the burden is yours, like mine, to be the light.”

As we watched and read just a couple of weeks ago, there was darkness over Brussels; however, there was also a tremendous light. At the same time the city was brought to its knees in the hunt for the terrorist networks responsible for the mass murders in Paris, there was a group of three dynamic young adults who refused to remain in the darkness of hiding. Adam Amir, Samuel Fuks and Or Gerner committed to one another and the Jewish community that there would be light. Dozens gathered at their newly rented home to hang their mezuzah and open the first-ever Moishe House Brussels. Would it be easier to leave Brussels? Yes. Would it be easier to stay quiet in the darkness at home? Yes. Would dozens of young Jews have felt the warmth of fire created by the community during such dark times? No.

We light sparks that become fires and will not allow those filled with hate to create a darkness so deep that we can no longer see through it. Moishe House will continue to fight by giving young people the resources and tools to be the light we need throughout the world. Are we also scared for what has occurred in Paris? Yes, but we will continue to build community in France. In 2016, we will be opening a second Moishe House in Paris along with expanding to another house in a different French city.

This is how we fight the darkness. Thank you for being a part of the light during these very dark times.

David Cygielman is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Moishe House.