TO THE EDITOR:
We start and end with community.
Our families, friends, and neighbors are the fabric of this extraordinary crazy quilt that is Weston — our residents are proud of their heritage representing nearly every nation on earth; our system of government offers us the liberty to practice our respective religions with no endorsement or favor — all are free to worship as they see fit — or not at all.
But together, we enjoy the common bond that we live in a beautiful town, educate our children, provide service for the elderly, and when necessary, support those among us who need our help — whether it be food, shelter, heat, or protection.
Last night our community came together to begin healing and offer support to all who feel the hateful climate of antisemitism that has gripped the world. We may take false comfort in thinking that global events cannot touch our quiet, bucolic town. They can, they do, and they have.
Defacing Israeli flags and engaging in hate speech have fouled the atmosphere of Weston. Nearby at Stamford High School, swastikas have been graffitied on the property. These incidents took place after the terrorist attack on Israel on October 7. But the problem is not new.
A total of 68 antisemitic incidents were recorded in Connecticut in 2022, a 100% increase over those recorded in 2021. There were 55 cases of harassment and 13 cases of vandalism.
We might easily dismiss the hateful acts seen in Weston as negligible or minor. Time after time in our history, human imagination failed to recognize that the “little things,” when left unchecked, morph into monstrous acts of hate and violence.
There are Jewish residents in Weston who had relatives in Germany in 1938 who missed the signals and perished because of it. And as we mark the 85th anniversary next week of Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” we are reminded of such lessons.
Weston residents have children who attend Cornell University where death threats directed at Jewish students caused them to be locked down in their dorm rooms. There have been bomb threats at synagogues across Connecticut. And Muslim residents in Connecticut and across the country are being harassed and even killed.
Weston stepped forward as a community after the George Floyd murder in two years ago; Weston stepped forward as a community in support of our Ukrainian residents this year. And our community must step forward to lock arms and speak out against the hate from micro-aggressions to the overt acts.
Dr. Martin Luther King said it best: “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”
We start and end with community. We are Weston.
— Michael Imber
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