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Nazis are personal

04/07/2021 03:19:52 PM

Apr7

Rabbi Brent Spodeck

Charlottesville "Unite the Right" Rally; photo: Anthony Crider

The Nazis are personal for me. Perhaps they are for you as well.

I’m a rabbi with a mezuzah on my door and a rainbow flag on my front porch, and I know there are people in our country -- and in our community -- who would be glad to see me dead for those reasons.

Perhaps these "very fine people" want to kill you too - because you are Jewish, because you are Black, because you are gay, because you are disabled.

Four years ago, the Nazis marched in Charlottesville, with tiki torches and khaki pants, calling for the extermination of Jews, blacks, gays and other “undesirables.” 

I hope that nobody is under the illusion that these issues are distant from the Hudson Valley. 

Our congregants homes have been vandalized by a man later tried for murder, one of the country's most prominent white supremacist podcasts is produced here in the Hudson Valley, and more than a few people from this region have been arrested in connection with the insurrection on January 6. 

We might no longer have a white supremacist in the White House, but we absolutely have them in our neighborhoods.

Over the next few weeks, we have two events about the rise of white supremacy, in our country and in the Hudson Valley.  

This Thursday is יום הזיכרון לשואה ולגבורה‎ - a day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust, but not only that. It is also a day of gratitude for those who resisted. It is a day to celebrate those anti-fascists who petitioned the indifferent American government to intervene in Europe, who smuggled food to prisoners, who took up arms against the Nazis. 

The Nazis are not done, and neither is resistance to them. 

Everyone is invited to join me, Amy Spitalnick of Integrity First for America, Taneisha Means of Vassar College, Justice McCray of Beacon 4 Black Lives and singer/songwriter Dar Williams to honor the resistance of the past by learning about efforts to resist the Nazis today. Details and registration are available here. 

The week after next, we’ll have an event focusing on the rise of anti-Semitic incidents here in the Hudson Valley with Jody Miller, the executive director of the Dutchess County Human Rights Commission. This event is only open to members of BHA, and all details and registration are available here

The Nazis are personal for me. Perhaps they are for you as well. If so, I hope you’ll join us and our partners to work together to build a country for all Americans, not some.

Thu, April 15 2021 3 Iyyar 5781