After a series of cowardly and terrible acts against Jewish communities in New York, London and elsewhere over this past Hanukkah, I was reminded of this historic photograph. It was taken by Rachel Posner, the wife of Rabbi Akiva Posner, in 1932 at their home in Kiel, Germany. It was only a month before Hitler came to power.
As fascism sadly made significant gains around the world this past year, defiance to social hatred, brutality and dehumanization, whether organized or not, is something that we must not take for granted. From the Amazon to the streets of Beirut, ordinary people have taken courageous stands against repression, often placing their very bodies on the line. But solidarity is the most important of values we have today. So even though there are those who will use these attacks as a tactic of divide and conquer, or who will resort to xenophobia and vilification of the ‘other’ to gain political points, the truth is that an attack on one is an attack on all.
Regardless of our faith or the absence of one, each of us has a menorah to place in our front windows. It makes no difference if the flags of hate loom larger than our emblem of defiance to them. After all, it might be a flickering candle of desperate hope. A light for the way out, for people you might not even know or ever meet.
Kenn Orphan December 2019