Remember and be the light

To the Editor:

β€œDarkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A new initiative has been started by The Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ and as a sign of solidarity I would like to ask the members of our community to take part in Remember and Be the Light. This year, November 9-10 marks the 79th anniversary of Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass or the Reichspogromnacht). Most people are aware that on November 9-10, 1938, German and Austrian Jewish businesses and homes were looted; synagogues were burned down; and nearly 100 Jews were murdered and 30,000 more were detained and deported to concentration camps. This state-sponsored violence led to an array of global destruction, dislocation, and the death of more than 60 million people of all faiths and ethnicities. People around the world knew what took place, but many remained silent. What began as a unique tragedy for Jews, ended as a universal tragedy of unprecedented proportions. The fires that were lit that night cast the world into a darkness that would last until the summer of 1945. Had most people not stood idly by on Kristallnacht, the conflagration that would soon envelop the world could have been avoided. Let us honor our collective history.
Fast forward to August 11, 2017, when several hundred torch-bearing men and women, with white supremacists and Neo-Nazis prominent among the crowd, marched on the University of Virginia’s grounds, shouting, β€œYou will not replace us,” and β€œJews will not replace us.” Let us not be silent this time. Let us not wait for the next bigoted rally to commence. On the evening of this November 9, please light a candle in your window to protest baseless hatred. Recent events have increasingly disturbed our tranquility. Your candle will serve as a symbol that you stand against words and acts of hatred and prejudice that have darkened our own community, our nation, our world. Each person who lights a candle on November 9 protests all baseless hatred. The light from our candles will serve as a reminder that this democratic nation in which we live, and to which we commend our future, is founded upon the precious principles of freedom, liberty, and justice for all. Let us strive together to protect those worthy principles. Let us learn from history and stand against hatred. Let us β€œRemember and Be the Light.” Together, we can become a beacon of hope for our town, our state, and our country. No candle? No problem. Print out a candle and put it on your window. Or, draw your own picture of a candle. #RememberandBetheLight #Outshine Hate #Bayonneis1

GENE W. WOODS