|Rabbi Wilfond’s Message – November 17th, 2023|
This week I travelled in a convoy of 9 buses from Westchester to
Washington DC. We gathered with 300,000 strong in support of
Israel, and in solidarity with the 240 hostages in captivity now for 46
days. We gathered to speak out against the surge in Antisemitism in
America, and throughout the world. I have never before been in
such a large group of Jews. My heart was especially filled with hope
by seeing that not everyone there was Jewish. Present were also
Christian Clergy and Muslim clergy, African-Americans, and Asians
standing together in solidarity with the Jewish community in this
unprecedented and horrible time.
Last week we remembered Kristallnacht, the beginning of the
Holocaust. Tonight, at the Temple we will host a guest speaker
Michael Hickins, a writer, novelist and memoirist who has just
published a book about his family’s history during the Holocaust. He
comes to us thanks to Rabbi Robbie Weiner, who is Michael’s Rabbi.
Like many first and second-generation Jewish Americans of European descent, Michael knew the broad
outlines of his family’s history during the Holocaust — which is to say that he knew the historical facts of
the Holocaust, and that his parents had the good fortune of escaping it. And also like many of his cohort,
he didn’t know much more about it. His memoir is a description of his journey of discovery of many
facts concerning his family, and is by turns heartrending and joyful, infuriating — and at times even
In many ways, his journey is less about the past than it is about understanding the present, and the ways
in which what his family endured during the Holocaust influenced the manner by which he behaves and
raises his children. He hopes the journey has made him a better husband and a better father, and that
his parents would be proud of their son.
Michael Hickins is the award-winning author of The Silk Factory: Finding Threads of My Family’s True
Holocaust Story. A former editor at The Wall Street Journal and author of the influential short story
collection The Actual Adventures of Michael Missing (Alfred A. Knopf, Dzanc Books). He earned an MFA
in creative writing from Columbia University School of the Arts. The Silk Factory was awarded the 2023
International Impact Book Awards for Memoirs.
I urge you to join us tonight at the Temple for a Shabbat of learning, remembrance and community.
Rabbi David Wilfond