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Friday, 17 September 2010

Rabbi warns: 'don't exaggerate antisemitism'

West London Synagogue senior rabbi Mark Winer warned against exaggerating the threat of antisemitism in the UK in his final Rosh Hashanah address to his congregation.

Although antisemitism was widespread, "we need to acknowledge that antisemitism does not really pose that much of a threat to Jews on a day-to-day basis," he said.

In general, he believed that "we Jews overestimate the threat of antisemitism as a part of our historically justified paranoia. But we run a serious risk of obsessive focus on it."

Rabbi Winer, 67, is returning to the United States after Succot after nearly 13 years but will retain links with West London as its senior scholar.

In the first of his "swan song" High Holy Day sermons, he said that the best response to antisemitism was "being the most knowledgeable and observant, the most appropriately self-assertive, confident, even exuberant Jews".

Emphasising the need to be "100 per cent British even as we are 100 per cent Jewish", Rabbi Winer added: "Only a 'glatt Yank' like me could teach the essentiality of being a 'glatt Brit'."

The Jewish Chronicle