Skip Navigation

Remembering Elie Wiesel

July 7, 2016

Dear Friend of Israel

There are people who instill in us such a sense of humility, who bear themselves with such dignity despite the suffering they have endured, whose witness to history is so powerful, that we know their influence will be felt down through the generations. 

Elie Wiesel – author, human rights activist, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate – who died Saturday, July 2 at the age of 87, was such a man. One of the true prophets of our day, it was through his unflinching courage in chronicling the atrocities he experienced during the Holocaust, and his honesty in confronting his own crisis of faith that resulted from those experiences, that millions of people who came after have come to better understand not just the terrifying facts of this dark chapter in history, but its effects on the collective memory of the Jewish people.

In his 1986 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Elie Wiesel said that after experiencing the unimaginable suffering of the Nazi death camps, “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Indeed, he was not silent. Elie Wiesel dedicated his life to Holocaust education. He was an outspoken advocate for the rights of oppressed people around the world. He was tireless in his fight against intolerance and injustice. His death is a blow not just to the Jewish world, but to all who believe in the cause of liberty and justice.

It was my privilege to know Elie Wiesel. In 2014 I was honored to receive the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s highest honor, the Raoul Wallenberg Award, an honor that had been bestowed upon Wiesel. While we mourn his death, we give thanks to God for his life, and his example – an example that, with God’s help, we pray we will be able to carry on. May his memory be a blessing.

With prayers for shalom, peace,


Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President

Jewish man blows shofar at Western Wall

Days of Awe

The High Holy Days, which begin this week with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, remind us of God's soverignty over a world that can be a dangerous and chaotic place. Even as we sit in awe of God's power, I am in awe of the...

Read More

Israel US Flag

Take a Stand Against Evil

The terror-sponsoring nation of Qatar recently hired an American public relations firm in an attempt to improve its image. But no makeover can hide the truth, and Qatar needs to be held accountable for its actions. Take a stand against evil by...

Read More

Light memorial at 9/11 Ground Zero

Great Is His Faithfulness

As we remember one of the darkest days in U.S. history on September 11, let us pray for all those who still grieve the loved ones they lost on that day, and honor the ordinary Americans who showed us the meaning of heroism. And let us give...

Read More