This week marks the anniversary of Kristallnacht, which occurred in Germany on the night of November 9th, 1938. “The night of broken glass,” is generally considered to mark the beginning of the Holocaust. On Kristallnacht, many Jewish homes, synagogues, and businesses in Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe were destroyed, resulting in streets covered with glass from the shattered windows. Marking this and other historical instances of hatred against Jews is part of our ensuring that atrocities such as the Holocaust never again take place. Yet, antisemitism is on the rise in many parts of the world, especially in Europe.
Just this past Shabbat, we lost an important Jewish voice in the fight against the rising tide of European antisemitism with the passing of Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom. Rabbi Sacks served as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, from 1991 to 2013. He used his position, both during and after his time as chief rabbi, to speak out against antisemitism and in favor of the State of Israel. He was an outspoken critic of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-Semitic rhetoric.
In addition to being a unifying voice who believed that all religions had parity in their attempts to find God, Rabbi Sacks broadened Judaism’s appeal by being a prolific writer of books and essays, an outstanding lecturer and commentator on Torah, Judaism and world events. Zichrono livrachah, may his memory be for blessing.
Rabbi Sandra M. Bellush