Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah



Broken Glass

The Jewish world commemorates tonight the 80th anniversary of what came to be known historically as “Kristallnacht,” the night of the broken glass, in which the most widespread and lethal pogrom of Nazi Germany against its Jews took place in 1938.

When Hannah Arendt, a German-Jewish thinker, wrote about the Holocaust, she prefaced her text with the words “normal people don’t know that everything is possible.” We Jewish-Americans have been experiencing a rude awakening recently. Certain things that we naively thought are not possible in America occurred, to our shock, grief and dismay. There is no need for hysteria, but we certainly need to be vigilant. The anti-Semitism of the radical left in this country has been noticed for decades. It denies Israel’s very right to exist within any borders.

Yesterday we learned that the SJP, together with the so called “Jewish Voice for peace,” are going to hold a gathering in which they will morally equate the massacre in the synagogue in Pittsburgh to the fight between Hammas and Israel in Gaza. Such loathsome extremism is anti-Semitic, for it asserts that only one group has not the right for political self-determination – the Jewish people. Some of the new congressmen and congresswomen elected last week expressed vehement anti-Israel statements, some of which border on the anti-Semitic.

Secondly, the American radical right is also on the rise. By radical right I mean neo-Nazis and White Supremacists. Several of them ran for election earlier last week, and some did quite well. For example, in Illinois, Arthur Jones ran for the third congressional district. Jones is a Holocaust denier, and a former leader of the American Nazi party. Jones did quite well for himself. Even though he lost the congressional seat, he did get 26% of the vote. There are other such candidates who ran for office on Tuesday, and some of them did not do as badly as one would anticipate.

Political sanity is not to be taken for granted. Every generation needs to re-earn the precious gift of freedom. America is a great place. It is our home. We must continue to do what we can to ensure that it remains the land of the free and the home of the brave, together with all good and decent Americans from both sides of the political spectrum.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Sessler

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