80 years ago today, we awoke to a nightmare – if we ever went to sleep at all.
80 years ago today, any one who closed their eyes to the increasing hate that filled Greater Germany saw the broken glass of their synagogues, shops and homes and could no longer deny the darkness and hate that pervaded society.
We used to call this day Kristallnacht – the night of broken glass — but it was not just one night.
We now call it the November 1938 pogroms. It was a wave of violent assaults on Jewish sites – both our holy sanctuaries and our homes. It was a wave propelled by many forces – antisemitism, economic depression, scapegoating, the Nazification of German churches, an ideology of nationalism and Nazi white supremacy.
80 years ago today, our Jewish world in much of Europe would turn from one of facing discrimination to facing deportation and ultimately death – systematic state sponsored murder.
That shattering continues… Charlottesville, Pittsburgh, swastikas that increasingly show up in our schools and in our neighborhoods.
A mystical teaching says that God created the world through brokenness. Rabbi Isaac Luria of Safed taught that in the beginning God filled all time and space. To make room for humanity, God needed to contract, so God channeled God’s light into clay vessels.
Yet the vessels could not contain that powerful light, hence creation turned to calamity as the vessels shattered and the shards containing God’s light crashed to the earth. Healing comes through Tikkun Olam, our picking up the shattered shards and redeeming divine light as we repair the world.
80 years ago today we awoke to broken glass. Today, lives broken by violence and hate continue to abound.
Our task is to pick up the broken shards in whatever ways we can. With large acts of advocacy to change the realities we see and with small acts of love, of support for others’ differences, and with celebrating loudly and proudly what makes us unique.[Photo by Matt Artz]