I hope you have had a chance to read Mitch Frumkin’s email announcing the name of the newly merged Federation – The Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey. (If not, you can read the New Jersey Jewish News article here.) We are working on many exciting plans for the future, including efforts to build a more inspired and inspiring Jewish community. That said, I would like to take a moment to focus a bit on the past… and the present.
Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
Recognition of these occasions is increasingly important as Holocaust survivors get older and we lose some of the first-person witnesses to this horror. It is even more critical given the spread of anti-Semitism and other persecutions of specific populations flaring up around the world. Our community has a unique role to play serving as messenger, a beacon of renewal and renaissance…and sadly, as something of a canary in the coal mine.
I have been participating in several leadership briefings on the situation facing the Jewish communities in Europe, and some of what I have been hearing…in terms of increases in anti-Semitic incidents, the spread of Islamic fundamentalists in these “liberal” societies, and the numbers of young people traveling to fight and train in the Middle East is just… scary.
There are several things we can do to address this issue:
- to be aware of the dangers faced by our extended Jewish family around the world
- to call out these dangerous trends wherever we see them
- to unmask polite bigotry or anti-Semitism masking as anti-Israel sentiment
- and to share the lessons of the past that are particularly resonant on this day
So, as many are surfing the web on this snow day, I encourage you to take a moment to think of any Holocaust survivors you might know. If any are in need, please connect them to our partners at Jewish Family Services in Middlesex or Jewish Family & Children’s Service in Monmouth. I also encourage you to pass on information about the Claims Conference, an important partner that provides support for survivors around the world, and to connect with the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education, which does amazing work sharing the lessons of the Holocaust for the broader community.
As always, your support of the work we do is greatly appreciated and vitally important. Especially in these troubling times. We will be following up soon with updates about the threats facing Jews around the world and the specific needs of our community and extended family, but in the interim, I also share a collection of links appropriate to this day and the issues faced by our community. Please take a few moments to read and share some of these articles.
Keith Krivitzky The Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey
Remembering Auschwitz and the Holocaust:
Challenges facing our community today: