Thursday, November 10, 2022

In This Moment: Kristallnacht and Veterans Day

In This Moment

Mazal tov to all the winners of this week's elections, especially TBE's own Senator Richard Blumenthal!

Veterans Day and Kristallnacht

Shabbat Shalom

Last night, marking the 84th anniversary of Kristallnachtthe "Night of Broken Glass," recalling the destruction of hundreds of synagogues and thousands of Jewish-owned businesses across German-controlled areas of central Europe, I went out and took this photo of our sanctuary. It was part of a UJF community wide commemoration. Lights shone brightly throughout Jewish Stamford last night (though with the Climate Change Conference going on in Egypt right now, I turned the lights off right after taking the photo). In contrast to the blazing infernos of that horrific November evening in Germany, how peaceful our sanctuary looked as it illuminated the New England night.

Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff visited a Jewish owned business in Iowa this week, a reminder of how our current situation contains echoes of the past, but if we take the red flags seriously, we can ward off evil. Despite the fear and hatred awakened by dark forces in our country, we can still leave the lights on and let them shine out into the world through our unbroken glass, as we proclaim unabashedly who we are, albeit through a glass darkly (to quote the New Testament) in our shattered world.

We can also take some comfort that some of those who have expressed great contempt for Jews and Judaism took a shellacking on Election Night, perhaps first and foremost PA governor candidate Doug Mastriano, defeated soundly by Josh Shapiro (who keeps kosher, observes Shabbat. proposed to his wife in Jerusalem, and featured hallahs she baked in his campaign launch video) after introducing antisemitic tropes into the campaign, including a strange "Fiddler on the Roof" parody done by a Messianic Jew. Yes, the big winners this week just might have been civility, truth and moderation, which can only bode well for our democracy.

Because Kristallnacht is commemorated on the secular anniversary of Nov. 9-10, it always leads directly into Veterans Day. The two holy days are linked by the quote you see below, which I found in the National Museum of American Jewish Military History, a small gem of a museum that I stumbled upon a few years ago while wandering on the side streets near Dupont Circle. You can find there and elsewhere the stories of a number of Jews, like Frank Cohn, who escaped Germany around the time of Kristallnacht only to return among American soldiers of liberation a few years later.

Join us on Friday night, in person or on livestream, as we pay tribute to our vets.

Join us on Zoom at 6 tonight for the final session of our interfaith dialogue Bible study. Tonight we'll be discussing how Jews and Christians look at the Biblical concepts of "eye for an eye" and "turning the other cheek," along with adultery, murder and divorce (not necessarily in that order); based on the Sermon on the Mount.

Click here to read the chapter.

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 874 1110 2614. Passcode: 723118

Recommended Reading

  • More Proof that this is the End of History (Francis Fukuyama) Liberal democracy, precisely because it distributes power and relies on consent of the governed, is in much better shape globally than many people think. Despite recent gains by populist parties in Sweden and Italy, most countries in Europe still enjoy a strong degree of social consensus.

Daniel Gordis: The Israel We Knew is Not Gone

Thomas Friedman: The Israel We Knew is Gone (NYT)

  • For this week's portion of Vayera, some of my favorite Parsha Packets. (Click on cover thumbnail to see pdf)
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Temple Beth El
350 Roxbury Road
Stamford, Connecticut 06902
203-322-6901 |
A Conservative, Inclusive, Spiritual Community

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