A dear friend recently shared a family story. Her grandfather had come to America before World War II to test the prospects of relocating his family in the new country.
Before grandfather left Hungary, he had heard whispers of what was happening in Europe. He assumed the stories were exaggerated. The accounts were hard to accept. After all, it was the 20th century in a civilized world. What kind of delirium was this?
Grandfather knew there was always some vestige of anti-Semitism floating around, but he felt that the most recent wave would pass. He could not believe there was any grave danger.
It is human nature for decent people to have trouble accepting the existence of indecent evil. Ugly reality is often met with denial. It just doesn’t seem possible.
Life in America had many unexpected trials and difficulties. The streets were not paved with gold. Grandfather returned home. He and nearly all of his family perished in the Holocaust.
Anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incidents continue to take place throughout the world. What else is new? We hope this wave will pass.
The Jewish community is now preparing to celebrate the new year and high holiday season. There will be large groupings of Jews, gathered together and potentially vulnerable, attending services in synagogues.
My dear Jewish brothers and sisters, what are the security precautions in your synagogues and neighborhoods? What safeguards are in place in your children’s schools and yeshivot? Does your family have a plan in case of emergency?
It is forbidden to rely on miracles. We have an obligation to visit the doctor, take medicine, drive with care, look before we cross and certainly to take measures in order to ensure security.
It is difficult to wrap our heads around the idea that there could be danger lurking. Yet every life is valuable and even a small incident can be devastating to those who are involved.
Pay attention. Take preventive measures. Have a contingency plan, and then sit back and have beautiful and safe yom tovim. Shanah tovah!