From Rabbi Rick Sherwin
A small section of Lazio soccer fans earlier this week littered the Stadio Olimpico with a ‘photo’ of Anne Frank wearing a jersey of their city rival team. Lazio’s “ultra” fan-base has been chanting anti-Semitic and racist “cheers” against rival teams for many years.
In response to the blatant anti-Semitism, the Italian soccer federation has announced that a heroic passage of perspective from Anne Frank’s diary will be read before professional soccer matches in Italy this week, followed by a moment of silence:
“I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.”
Our world seems to be driven by fear on one hand and hatred on the other. We often feel caught in the middle, with both sides closing in. Perhaps we should post Anne Frank’s words on our wall, then take a minute to reflect on her statement of hope before we go to our home page, before we open the newspaper, before we watch or listen to the news, before we go to sleep at night, and before we get out of bed in the morning.
The antidote to the paralyzing power of despair lies in finding a single hook upon which to hang hope: perhaps a vision of what might lie just beyond the horizon, or – as in Anne Frank’s case – just looking up at the sky.
Rabbi Rick Sherwin, a graduate of UCLA, was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Rabbi Rick’s passion is filling spiritual services and interfaith educational programs with creativity, relevance, dialogue, and humor.