This has been a horrendous week. The sight of Nazi thugs marching – violently – through American streets at once chills the blood and makes it boil.
As a rabbi, I am required to speak out in the face of such vitriol and viciousness. However, this Friday night is “Camp Shabbat,” which doesn’t provide the kind of space I’d like to address current events thoughtfully.
I’m therefore sharing this message, originally posted on my Facebook account on August 12, with the entire congregation through our Shabbat Weekly Email. I am certain that the entire Temple Emanuel community stands as one against hatred in all its forms.
This week, Neo-Nazis marched in my country and, true to form, inflicted violence on those who oppose them.
In the 1930s, too many leaders – political, social, economic, religious – declined to stand up to Nazism. Too many regular people declined to stand up for their friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
We cannot make their mistake. We must decry the false message of a divided humanity, and work actively as a community of respect, intimacy, and support.
Hillel’s words are as true today as when he spoke them: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?”
The politics of division is a politics of hatred. The politics of hatred always leads to violence. In the face of violence, apathy is not an option.We cannot make their mistake. We must decry the false message of a divided humanity, and work actively as a community of respect, intimacy, and support.
-Rabbi Dean Shapiro