Elie Wiesel, z”l
It is with sadness and a profound sense of personal loss that the Annual Scholars’ Conference notes the passing of our Honorary Chairman, Elie Wiesel. He was the conscience of a generation, a true tzaddik, a saint. Spending time with him, was to be in the presence of greatness. How fortunate those of us, who could call him teacher, colleague and friend.
Elie was a keynote speaker at the very first Scholars’ Conference, in 1970, and honored us with his participation often thereafter. None of those gatherings is remembered with greater warmth than the day-long “Think Tank” at which he presided in 2004. The meeting took place on the holiday of Purim and, reminding participants of the date, he began to chant from memory, in a soft and sweet voice, the Book of Esther, the story of the Jews’ escape from an attempted genocide, over two millennia ago.
Elie often said that he believed in questions, but he challenged us all to care, with his statement that “The opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference.” For his part, Elie never stopped caring.
How appropriate that he left us on Shabbat, the day of rest, his labors on behalf of the Jewish People and all oppressed humanity not completed, but come to an end. In the Talmudic volume Pirkei Avot, it is written; “It is not for you to finish the task, but neither may you shirk from it.” Now, the task is ours.
Our heartfelt condolences to his wife Marion and her family. May his memory be for a blessing.