Thursday, December 8th 2022   |



The late Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, professor, activist, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was born on this date – September 30, 1928.  In “Night” (the most acclaimed of his 57 books), Wiesel detailed his experiences as a prisoner at Auschwitz and Buchenwald… and his theological responses to that trauma.  As this anniversary of his birth coincides with Erev Shabbat Shuva, anticipating Yom Kippur, we recall that his Nobel citation hailed Wiesel as a messenger “of peace, atonement, and human dignity.”

In 1982 (or so), Wiesel attended a Shabbat morning service at the synagogue of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where, as a young student, I served as Gabbai.  It was my privilege to honor him with an Aliyah to the Torah. It is again my privilege to honor his memory with these words.   Wiesel taught, primarily by example, that “Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds.”

In his Nobel Prize address, Wiesel said:

“Remembering is a noble and necessary act. The call of memory, the call to memory, reaches us from the very dawn of history. No commandment figures so frequently, so insistently, in the Bible. It is incumbent upon us to remember the good we have received, and the evil we have suffered.”

May his memory be a blessing.

Rabbi Joseph H. Prouser is the rabbi of Temple Emanuel of North Jersey and the editor of “Masorti: The New Journal of Conservative Judaism.”

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