PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — It’s mid-week at Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor and Rabbi Barry Silver is preparing for a sermon this Friday, reading from a unique Torah. One that’s charred and burned pulled from the ashes of a synagogue in Eastern Europe burned to the ground during the Holocaust.
Rabbi Silver says no one survived the hate crime but the passages live on.
”It’s important to avoid ‘the selfish,’ and it’s selfish to be content to be complacent when things are going well for you but not someone else,” said Silver.
He’s concerned with the latest hate crime stats from the FBI. The disturbing report sheds light on hate crimes across our nation. While the actual number of incidents is down, violence is increasing.
Jewish people were targeted in nearly 58 percent of religious bias hate crimes. Gay men accounted for 59.8 percent of hate crimes based on sexual orientation. And black people were targeted in just under half of the hate crimes based on race, ethnicity, and ancestry.
Also of increasing concern in the report are the number of attacks against people in the trans community and those with a disability.
”We need to teach our children that silence isn’t good enough,” said Silver.
It’s a message shared by children of Holocaust survivors at a suburban Boca Raton school this week. The takeaway was don’t be a bystander, take a stand.
”The upstander feels responsible - not for themselves that’s not the issue - the issue is, do you feel responsible for others that are weak,” said Israel Posner, a former college professor and member of the Jewish non-profit Next Generations.
For a closer look at the complete FBI report, click here.