"THOUGHTS Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum, President of the North American Board of Rabbis and Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel in Lawrence, New York, reflected on the historic mission of the seventeen rabbis and Jewish religious leaders who accepted the invitation to Berlin:
"On a personal level, the profound impact of this odyssey swept over me as I offered the Shabbat sermon at the Sukkat Shalom Synagogue in Berlin. Our journey to this place and moment began nearly three decades ago, when I first met Dr. Heinz Peter Behr in New York, then Deputy Director of the German Information Center. That encounter began a friendship in which we have worked together to build bridges of understanding, respect and cooperation between American Jewry and the people and government of Germany. Together by remembering the past, we dedicated our efforts to build a better tomorrow, one where love overcomes hate and hope replaces despair."
From November 6-10, 2018, sixteen members of the North American Board of Rabbis (NABOR) and guests traveled to Germany at the invitation of the German Federal Foreign Office to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Rekhspogromnacht (Kristallnacht). On November 9, 1938, about 400 Jews were murdered and another 400 died in the subsequent days. Over 1,400 synagogues and prayer rooms, as well as thousands of shops, apartments and Jewish cemeteries were desecrated and destroyed. One day later, approximately 30,000 Jews were imprisoned in concentration camps.
Especially in times of growing right-wing populism and anti-Semitic assaults, the German Federal Government wanted to use this journey to underscore that the crimes committed on that night and during the Shoah represent a cornerstone of the German political consciousness. This awareness includes reconciliation and active government support of the Jewish community. This journey of high-ranking representatives from various North American Jewish communities focused on modern Jewish life in Germany and gave the guests insight into the political and social support of Jewish communities. This includes active resistance to anti-Semitism and racism, as well as information on the political situation in the country. The journey left a profound and positive impression on the participants as to the seriousness and dignity with which the political and social aspects of the Shoah were addressed.
In a joint letter Rabbi Rosenbaum and Rabbi Michael Zedek, Senior Vice President of the North American Board...