Monday, April 8, 2013

Sweet Revenge

Below is a copy of my closing remarks at last night's community-wide Yom Hashoa observance:

We have come here tonight to fulfill a sacred promise made to the generation of the Holocaust.  We’ve promised not only to remember both the survivors and the murdered, but also to avenge the martyrs’ deaths.  That is what they wanted.  That is what they wrote over and over and over again in their last testaments.  For example, when last 12 Jews to be murdered at the death camp at Chelmno, in January 1944, they wrote:  “If any relatives or friends of these individuals are left alive, then be informed that all the Jews who were removed from Lodz were killed most brutally…If you survive avenge our blood.” 

Thanks to all the allies’ soldiers and all of the partisans, the third Reich was defeated and has been relegated to the dust bin of history. Don Darkes wrote “Revenge is a dish best eaten cold and there is no sweeter dish than outliving an enemy” If this be the case, then we have had our revenge.    But I believe that our revenge has been even better because there is no better revenge than success.  The Nazis tried to destroy the Jewish people, but we have not only survived; we have triumphed and we have flourished.  Let me just share 3 proofs with you.
My first proof:  In 2007 Germany 's biggest synagogue, on Rykestrasse in Berlin, reopened after a lavish restoration. The synagogue was set ablaze on Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, in 1938.  The 100 year old synagogue, with a 1,200-person capacity, has been described as one of the jewels of Germany's Jewish community.

My second proof:  On January 4, 2010, Mrs. Yitta Schwartz of Monroe, New York died at age 94. A Holocaust survivor and member of the Satmar Hasidim, Mrs. Schwartz and her husband had 16 surviving children and, at last count, 170 grandchildren. At the time of her death, Mrs. Schwartz is believed to have had over 2,500 descendants.

My third, last, and best proof:  The State of Israel is a strong, free, democratic country where Jews live in the dignity of their own country. There Jewish culture, language, and peoplehood flourish. Israel is renowned as the start-up nation leading the world with revolutionary technology.  And Israel defends Jewish people every where, both inside and outside her borders.

Let us pray to God that the Ribbono Shel Olam continue to bless us as we keep our promises to remember and exact our revenge by becoming even more successful in all of our righteous and worthy endeavors.  Amen.