At times like these, the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller, speak to us through the years:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Today, you can fill in the blanks to update this poem, sadly, starting with Gays and moving onto many other groups and targets of hate. It is at times like these when the Jewish community must come together with people of conscience everywhere and say that extremism and fundamentalism have no place in our society. We stand in solidarity with those affected by terror in the past week – in Orlando, Paris and Tel Aviv – and the many victims of terror in the weeks and months before.
In the words of the sage Hillel: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?”
May we be strong in our communities, support others who are also beleaguered and in need, and take a stand now against hate and extremism everywhere.
The Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey