By Rabbi Andrew Bloom
Seventy-nine years ago today, on Sept. 6, 1941, Nazi Germany announced that all Jews over the age of 6 living in the country and all German territories would have to begin wearing a Star of David. The Jews of Vilna were also confined to “their ghetto” on this day. Eventually, Nazi Germany was defeated four years later; however, during those four years, that “Yellow Star of David” signified the eventual murder of 6 million Jews at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust — the Holocaust being the perpetuation of evil in the world.
I mention this not only as an important historical reminder of the past but even more so as a cautionary tale for our futures. For evil, hate and antisemitism are on the rise on our college campuses (BDS), within the halls of Congress, in the corridors of power, from the left and from the right. Add to this, antisemitism being disguised as anti-Zionism, and we have a triangle of hate (left, right and anti-Israel) that for the first time are working together with each other instead of separately. Thus, the danger has increased.
While many might think that antisemitism is only “a Jewish problem,” Rabbi Jonathan Sacks declares it to be otherwise. Sacks, the former chief rabbi of the UK and world-renowned intellectual, once said, “Antisemitism is never ultimately about Jews. It is about a profound human failure to accept the fact that we are diverse and must create space for diversity if we are to preserve our humanity.” In other words, allowing antisemitism to grow and be legitimized on all levels is a threat not only to Jews around the world, but to all humanity.
Therefore we must band together, as we do here in Fort Worth, in order to fight hate and grow community. For “united” we must stand both as a Jewish and world community or “divided” we will fall into an ever-growing society of bigotry and hate. I hear people trying to monopolize hate today for political reasons and this must never be done for we are all intertwined in history. The Holocaust is an example of this, for while 6 million Jews were murdered at the hands of Hitler, another 5 million were also murdered for being “others” and “different” at that time.
It is time to stand up and not put our heads in the sand. For evil can only be fought with pride, effort and recognition that hate is still alive within our society. Israel is one of the examples and antioxidants to the spread of this evil, and thus it is time that we take on the Israeli mentality of never backing down. Our futures are dependent on this non-wavering outlook.
Andrew Bloom is the rabbi at Congregation Ahavath Sholom in Fort Worth.