07 Sep 2010


Jewish institutions in three cities in Chile were vandalized this summer, including Santiago, where the NCSY South American Region is based (there is another branch located in Buenos Aires).

NCSY is the international youth movement of the Orthodox Union.

Michael Bengio, director of the NCSY Chile Region, presented the following report on how NCSYers are reacting to the anti-Semitic actions:

“Gratefully, our NCSYers actually go to school with no fear, as they would do on any other occasion. They are aware of the fact that there are always threats against the community just because of the fact that we are Jews. Thank God that nothing has happened thus far, and we have had much more serious threats in the past. Even though there is no direct threat to the community at this moment, we are making sure to take this and every case of vandalism very seriously.

Our last NCSY classes have focused on strengthening our Jewish identity. We want to make sure that the teens derive a positive message from every situation that life presents them. A few weeks from now this incident will be forgotten, but we want to make sure that the lesson is not, and that it will not have had a negative impact on them. This incident should not make our children ashamed or afraid of being Jewish, although it is a reason for the Jewish nation to be more united than ever. We want to make sure that our NCSYers get this message, as opposed to any other more negative implication.

The Chilean government has always been very supportive of the Jewish community and we hope that it continues to show its continued solidarity. The government stated that this kind of vandalism is unacceptable and they have assured us that they will take all the necessary measures in order to keep the situation under control.

God willing, we all sincerely hope that this incident will serve as a wake-up call that will lead us to strive at being better Jews and that we will all become not only more united as a people, but closer to Torah and mitzvot (commandments) as well.”

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The Orthodox Union, now in its second century of service to the Jewish community of North America and beyond, represents the fastest growing segment in Jewish life. The OU is a world leader in community and synagogue services, adult education, youth work through NCSY, political action through the IPA (Institute of Public Affairs), and advocacy for persons with disabilities through Yachad and Our Way. Its kosher certification label, the , is the world’s most recognized kosher symbol and can be
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