With Tosia Szechter Schneider‘s gracious permission, I am posting her very moving remarks on the synagogue attack this fall in Pittsburgh:
My name is Tosia Schneider, after losing my whole family in the in the Shoah, in that whirlwind of hate, that engulfed Europe, I remember standing on the deck of the SS Marine Flasher in 1949, as we passed the Statue of Liberty, I thought, that this is indeed a new world, a world without hate, a world where anti Semitism will never raise its ugly head again.
What naïve and wishful thinking! A world without anti-Semitism…
Anti-Semitism is longest and the most wide spread hatred in the world.
Our sages of old, brought the tables of the law to humanity. The laws of moral and ethical behavior the injunction “thou shall not murder”.
Our people endured many travails, the destruction of the second Temple and dispersion of our people throughout the world, the persecution and expulsion from Spain, and then the darkest period of our history the Shoah.
We arrived at these shores with great hopes, the tragedy at Pittsburgh reminds us that here, even here, we are not free of hatred.
The Tree Of Life synagogue—became the place of Death.
We must be encouraged though, to see how the whole community of Pittsburgh stood firmly by and embraced the Jewish community, the mayor, the city officials, and of course the brave policemen who rushed in to stop the killings, and some of them are still recovering from that encounter. For that we are most grateful.
Sadly, that did not happen in my community when the Nazi killers arrived, we were defenseless and alone….
We, and all peoples of faith, must struggle and unite to fight against anti-Semitism and racism. We must keep that dream alive, of a world without hate of a world where all people can live in peace.