Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D.
Anti-Semitism is alive and well. Today, in our cities, our houses of worship have been defiled, cemeteries have been desecrated, individuals accosted on the streets, and worshipers taken hostage by individuals determined to destroy the very fabric of human connection.
Anti-Semitism is alive and well. Today, in our schools of learning, our children are confronted with blatant displays of inhuman behavior.
Age-old distortions are prevalent. It seems that all the progress made over the last several decades has no meaning. New efforts are being introduced to rekindle the flames of hate that are reminiscent of the early part of the last century and, for that matter, of centuries past.
So here we go again. The difference, though, is that the world is supposedly more civilized, more tolerant, more educated. This flagrant display of hostility exists because of the ramblings of mad men or the frenzy of an uncontrollable crowd. And it is for these reasons that it is so frightening.
Those who thought this kind of vulgarity was destroyed when Nazism and Fascism were defeated should understand that evil could resurrect itself when it has a common enemy.
Hatreds of the not-too-distant past resulted in 30 million people—six million of whom were Jewish men, women, and children—killed in a nightmare of ignorance.
Recently, the world commemorated the annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Speeches and reminiscences were given, and for just one moment in time, we were all in tune with our thoughts and prayers.
For one fleeting moment, we, civilized society, understood that humanity is required to affect a solution to death and destruction. In one single moment, civilized society determined not to be afraid to confront evil. In this same single moment when we came together to commemorate the destruction of evil, we were also reminded that to survive, we need each other.
Here in Sun Lakes, the organized religious communities have proclaimed their solidarity. We are a community of many faiths and denominations, and it is realized by all that an attack on one is an attack on all. I am so proud of my colleagues who have contacted me with undying support in these trying times.
Perhaps our prayer should be that this fleeting moment remains a clarion call for sanity and dignity for all people. Our fervent wish should be that our leaders would find a way to bring an honorable end to this nightmare. Our hopes should rest with the world learning, as has been demonstrated in Sun Lakes, that we all suffer when one of us suffers.
Anti-Semitism is alive and well. And we will deal with it because we are a people who connects to the message of God, which includes an understanding of life. And because we are a people who have survived unimaginable nightmares. And because we are a people who reveres the dignity of the human spirit.