WHEN MEMORIES BECOME BLESSINGS

Welcome to Roger’s Take on Religion: An Inclusive Perspective

Elie Wiesel died last week. As a Jew, he survived the Holocaust then dedicated his life to the remembrance of the six million Jews who perished in Nazi death camps.

In awarding him the Peace Prize in 1986, the Nobel Committee praised Wiesel as a “messenger to mankind” and “one of the most important spiritual … guides in an age when violence, repression and racism continue to characterize the world.”

Wiesel understood that hatred toward one group, whether blacks or Latinos, eventually includes hatred toward the Jews, leading him to fight bigotry in all its forms. “I have learned … the crime of indifference,” he said. “For the opposite of love … is not hate, but indifference.”

Here’s My Take: Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin tells the story heard from Wiesel about a righteous man who went to the biblical city of Sodom, a place known for its entrenched evil. The righteous man sat in the middle of the town square, held his head in his hands, and screamed.

Someone approached the man, and asked: “Do you really think your screaming will change anyone?”

“No,” he said. “But, at the very least, I know that they won’t change me.”

America is the town square. With Wiesel gone, who will remember to scream?

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