Interfaith Trip Offers Lessons in Coexistence
The New Jersey Jewish News recently released an article about our trip to Albania and Bosnia with Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom this past January. In the article, it states –
“Albania was the only country in Europe where the number of Jews increased during the Holocaust,” said Sheryl Olitzky of North Brunswick, national executive director and cofounder of Salaam Shalom. “There were only 200 Jews there before the war, but 4,000 after it ended.”
In mostly Muslim Albania, Jewish refugees enjoyed the hospitality of a country that has the distinction of never turning over to the Nazis a single Jew lucky enough to cross its borders during the Shoa.
Although most of those Jews immigrated to Israel after the war as communism began to take hold, about 70 Jews remain, said Olitzky. Her husband, Rabbi Kerry Olitzky, national director of Big Tent Judaism, conducted what community members said was the first Shabbat service there in decades.
Olitzky said the trip participants “learned so much about hate toward the other and what can be done to stand up against that hate. It was beyond amazing.”