Shabbat Shalom! I was once told that the best way to shine a light on an atrocity was to come together as a community and to talk about it and not sweep it under the rug. As a community, we come together each week to celebrate Shabbat in part to stand together and show the world that all of the atrocities perpetrated on our people have not succeeded. Rabbi Holtz and I would like to invite you to join us at services next week (Friday, November 8 at 7:30) in commemoration of Kristallnacht. Let’s shine a light by gathering together to pray, to study, celebrate Shabbat, and to remember those who were lost fighting to keep the flame alive.
Kristallnacht, also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, was a pogrom (a series of coordinated attacks) against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristallnacht) On the night of November 9, 1938, the sounds of breaking glass shattered the air in cities throughout Germany while fires across the country devoured synagogues and Jewish institutions. By the end of the rampage, gangs of Nazi storm troopers had destroyed 7,000 Jewish businesses, set fire to more than 900 synagogues, killed 91 Jews and deported some 30,000 Jewish men to concentration camps. “Kristallnacht” provided the Nazi government with an opportunity at last to totally remove Jews from German public life. It was the culminating event in a series of anti-Semitic policies set in place since Hitler took power in 1933. Within a week, the Nazis had circulated a letter declaring that Jewish businesses could not be reopened unless they were to be managed by non-Jews. On November 15th, Jewish children were barred from attending school, and shortly afterwards the Nazis issued the “Decree on Eliminating the Jews from German Economic Life,” which prohibited Jews from selling goods or services anywhere, from engaging in crafts work, from serving as the managers of any firms, and from being members of cooperatives. (People & Events “Kristallnacht”, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/holocaust/peopleevents/pandeAMEX99.html)