On Shabbat, July 27, international media outlets reported that a Jewish man was attacked on the streets of Berlin. The man, later identified as Jewish community leader Rabbi Yehuda Tiechtel, said two men spat on him and hurled anti-semitic epithets.
“Unfortunately, the aggressions against Jews have developed a life of their own,” shared Rabbi Tiechtel in a statement to the press. The rabbi and one of his children had been leaving synagogue in western Berlin after leading a prayer service, when he was confronted by two Syrian men.
But this week, Germany showed its intolerance of the incident when President Frank-Walter Steinmeier showed up on the rabbi’s doorstep. “I have come here to say that there is no place for anti-Semitism in Germany. I am here to declare this, as well as to visit a friend,” said the president.
He then expressed interest in the Jewish activities in the German capital and, together with Rabbi Tiechtel, discussed the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s message of spreading light to combat darkness.
Rabbi Tiechtel, who presented the president with a dollar that he had received years back from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, shares, “I remain convinced that most people in Berlin do not want to accept this aggression against Jews as a sad part of everyday Jewish life. Most people in Berlin want Jewish people to be able to live their Judaism openly without being afraid of being insulted, spat at or even beaten. Of course, we will not hide now, but continue to build on love, tolerance, dialogue and education.”