The Kippah Disappears From Anderlecht

The following article concerns the ongoing Islamization of the Anderlecht district of Brussels, and the effect that cultural enrichment has had on a traditional Jewish school in the neighborhood.

It was originally published in German by Preussische Allgemeine Zeitung. It was translated from German into Dutch by E.J. Bron, and then from Dutch into English by El Rubio for Gates of Vienna:

Brussels is Becoming a Danger Zone
by Bodo Bost

The Jewish school “Maimonides”, rich in tradition and in the centre of Brussels, has to endure, sixty-five years after its startup, an increasingly aggressive anti-Semitism with an Islamic flavor. A ban on wearing kippahs is supposed to protect the children from Islamic aggression.

Shortly after the Second World War, at the initiative of the director of the Jewish orphanage and Holocaust survivor Seligman Bamberger and with the support of the Brussels rabbi Steinberg, the first Jewish school was opened in Brussels.

This project was begun as a symbol of returning Jewish life after the Second World War with its occupation by the Germans. They first started in 1947 with a kindergarten and an elementary school, and beginning in 1959, the school expanded with a wing for higher education.

In addition to the worldly subjects usually taught in schools, the emphasis was also put on Jewish spiritual values and classical education. Because of that, the school was named after the great Talmud scholar Maimonides. The name “atheneum” was added at a later date, and in the year 1965 the first students took their exams and started their studies. The Jewish “Atheneum Maimonides” has moved many times around the city centre until it found its permanent place in 1993 on the Boulevard Poincaré. During its anniversary in 1997 the school changed its name to that of its founder, Seligman Bamberger.

Sixty-five years later the school struggles to survive. Because the neighborhood in Brussels in which the school happens to exist, the city neighborhood of Anderlecht which is in view of the Gare de Midi, has developed during the last few years into a predominantly Muslim neighborhood. The Jews here are more and more exposed to strong hostility. The result: a dwindling Jewish population and a situation for the school that does not seem solvable. “The area has an immigrant population that the Jews are not positively disposed towards,” says Agnes Bensimon, a spokeswoman for the Israeli Embassy in Brussels, who herself is a former pupil of the “Maimonides”. For years there has been a steady deterioration in the quality of life in Anderlecht, which would affect safety and cleanliness, says School Board Chairman Jacques Wajc.

“The story of “Maimonides” school center is the story of the Jewish community of Brussels and its growing unease,” says Joel Rubinfeld, past “Maimonides” scholar and president of the European Jewish Parliament across the street from the newspaper Times of Israel. Instead of Jews, the neighborhood is filling up with Islamist immigrants from Morocco and Turkey. And every time the tensions in the Middle East increase, so does the anti-Semitism. The 8000-square-meter complex reacts by increasing its security. Nowadays the school looks more like a very well-guarded military complex. There are no windows, the outside walls are protected with weapons-grade iron plates. Parents send their kids to other schools. The number of students has dwindled from 600 to 150. Debts are hitting six million euros. There used to be about 100 Jewish families around South Station; now there are only three. This year the school may close. In order to prevent that, it is contemplating moving to the suburbs. But there we already find other Jewish schools such as the Jewish Gannou school in Ukkel and the Beth-Aviv school in Vorst. “Maimonides” is the last school in the centre of Brussels, where lots of Jews once lived. The neighborhood of Gare du Midi used to be called “Little Jerusalem” because of the large Jewish population.

Especially since the attack by Mohamed Merah at the Jewish school in Toulouse last year, which resulted in four deaths, the fear of radical Islam with a North African flavor has increased a lot in Brussels. The director of the school has banned the wearing of kippahs by students outside the school in an attempt to protect them. The kippah is a sign of respect towards God. So a fundamental aspect of the Jewish belief system had to go. Also the ban on using the metro station Lemonnier, which seems to be a gathering place for aggressive Muslims, resulted in an outcry in the Jewish community.

Similar circumstances are also found in big cities in France and Holland. Jews wearing the kippah do not dare to go into certain neighborhoods, according to Rubinfeld: “European cities are dangerous for people wearing a kippah.”

For a complete listing of previous enrichment news, see The Cultural Enrichment Archives.

10 thoughts on “The Kippah Disappears From Anderlecht

  1. Similar circumstances are also found in big cities in France and Holland. Jews wearing the kippah do not dare to go into certain neighborhoods, according to Rubinfeld: “European cities are dangerous for people wearing a kippah.”

    What a wonderful “democracy” Europeans have created. For the last 90 years we have been barking at the Soviet Union and others for not being able to create a “democracy” that destroys their own countries. No wonder the Muslims reject democracy. They are not stupid.

    • While direct democracy certainly has drawbacks, the problem here is not “democracy” in the wider sense. It’s the importation of large numbers of people who reject the values generally shared by the people whose ancestors created a democratic form of government to perpetuate their values.

      And I disagree with your statement that “Muslims are not stupid” (because they reject democracy). Muslims are stupid for many reasons, one of them being the belief that they can keep collecting the material and other benefits of non-Muslim (especially Western) societies after they’ve pulverized the moral and spiritual and cultural foundations of those societies. If they knew history, they would know that eventually the source of plunder is depleted and they need to move on to a new target — but at some point they’ll run out of promising new targets.

      • It isn’t the Muslim immigrants who’ve undermined Europe’s moral culture. It’s Europeans themselves.

        Had Westerners remembered their own God, raised the middle finger to the memory of Nietzsche and Marx, and valued the morality that made them great, Muslim immigration probably would’ve ended in lots of swarthy Christians (and shades between that and pale) and a real assimilation of newcomers.


  3. It’s a similar situation in Malmö, a town with a lot of mena immigrants in the south of Sweden. Soon to be judenfrei, thanks to the “new Swedes” as we are supposed to call our immigrants. I am ashamed to be European.

  4. In a stirring and thought-provoking speech on the 40th anniversary of Allied victory in Europe, German president, Richard von Weizsäcker pointed to the Biblical judgment that memory lasts for forty years, and he sought that day to revive and preserve memories of how and why Germany had come to its present state.

    It has been less than forty years since that speech and Europe as a whole seems to have forgotten what another powerful voice had said long before (SPD) Chancellor Schmidt’s declaration of Kristallnacht as a day of remembrance and (CDU) President Weizsäcker’s later speech.

    Pastor Martin Niemöller once again:

    First they came for the communists
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
    Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
    Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.
    Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.


  6. Europe learned all the wrong lessons from WWII and never lost its anti-semitism. It just morphed into another form – anti-Zionism – which legitimized their feelings of Jew hatred. This way, they were able to molt from their form skin of Jew hatred and take on a new one. The new skin allowed them to disguise their Jew hatred in the form of anti-Israel activities and boycotts and passing Nuremberg-style Laws under the banner of the Eruopean Union.

    Their Jew hatred also found commonality with the malevolent death-cult called Islam. A spurious religion that has no concept of Evil. Hence, it legitimizes all evil as long as it is performed in the name of Allah, their twisted deity. So the European now finds themselves being overrun by Islam and very accepting of their Jew hatred. They go through the motions of being “shocked” by Islamic anti-semitism, but are quietly pleased with which they murder and trounce Jews.

    No, the new Europe is the same as the old Europe – a haven for Jew hatred. All Jews should leave Europe, the future looks very grim their as within fifty years they will be under the thumb of their Islamic masters.

    • Europe reeled from the nationalist sentiment that led to disaster during WWII. It was also shocked by the holocaust against the Jews.
      The holocaust is the reason that muslims are tolerated like they are. No one wants to be seen persecuting a religious minority, especially one that is predominate in the surrounding region where trading partners are to be found.
      It really doesn’t help that Holocaust Studies have taken the position of a religion which reinforces amongst Europeans that religious minorities are always the victim.
      A nationalist Europe would never have tolerated aggressive Islam but nationalism is out of fashion amongst the power elites and so we have the situation we have.
      It’s also not correct to blame Europeans for Jews being targeted by Muslims and calling it an example of anti-semitism. Those Muslims are also forcing the native population out of their homes, this is not something peculiar to Jewish communities.

  7. Pingback: The Kippah Disappears From Anderlecht | Gates of Vienna | oogenhand

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