July 14, 2024

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Harmony Between My Ethnic and Spiritual Identities | Dona Haber

I have long been proud of the sturdy connection amongst my region of beginning, Albania, exactly where my family still resides, and the land that is my non secular household, Israel. This feeling just lately grew to become more powerful, when Albania joined other nations throughout the globe in officially adopting the Intercontinental Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. The value of this, in a world the place anti-Semitism is on the increase, can not be understated, for according to the American Jewish Committee, the moment a governing administration defines anti-Semitism, it will be far better outfitted to identify it, monitor it, and create guidelines to combat it. Even though this declaration could seem like a singular milestone for this little Balkan state, it is not the very first time Albania has stood up to guard the Jewish folks.

In the midst of the horrors of Planet War II, not only did Albania secure its have Jewish people, but it also grew to become a secure haven for the rest of European Jewry. This countrywide conviction to stand up for the correct point arrived from a set of oral standard legislation and customs regarded as The Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini, and in individual, the principle of besa, a price that is deeply entrenched in the Albanian psyche. Besa, which around interprets into English as the pledge of honor, is central to the Albanian culture, and involves a moral obligation to follow through with any specified assure. This concept transcends political or religion-centered convictions, in this religiously pluralistic and mainly secular nation. When the Jewish individuals desired a place to cover, Albanians gave their besa that they would shelter them, and the Jews have been offered with unconditional protection. Now a person can read about these individual tales of appreciate and survival at the Muzeu Solomoni, a modest Jewish museum in Berat, Albania. In point, Albania might be the only state in Europe in which the Jewish populace greater following the Holocaust. Transferring again into the present time, yet another benefit that is nonetheless central in Albanian lifestyle is the price of hospitality. My spouse visited the country a pair of many years ago and was astonished to see the lengths that strangers went to greet him and demonstrate him the foods, tradition, and tradition. 

Though Albania was sad to say isolated from the rest of the planet below a communist regime from the conclusion of Planet War II through the early ’90s, today as a democratic state, its people have entire flexibility to vacation abroad and to also present hospitality and heartfelt welcoming to all planet vacationers at residence. The Albania of the modern day era is a secular and religiously tolerant state, in which Israelis and Jewish individuals from all about the planet can count on becoming produced to be felt at house, and even be supplied with some of the most aggressive tourism deals in the Mediterranean region. In current years the earth has viewed a unfortunate rise in anti-Semitism, such as through Europe, but just as in the earlier, Albania is a reminder that no matter how smaller you are, it is usually attainable to stand tall. 

Dona is a spouse, mother and author centered in Brookline, Massachusetts. She is passionate about food, culture and id as just one of the several Jewish Albanian People in america in the world. Observe her musings on Instagram at @donashaber.