Fighting Forces of Darkness and Hate with Light and Love

The following was is a statement from ASU Rabbi and Educator, Rabbi Shmuel Tiechtel regarding the anti-Semitic posters that were found placed around Arizona State University early this week:

My dear friends,

I prefer to only discuss positive subjects, and it’s with deep sadness that I write this post, but over the past 24 hours, tens of students have reached out for support and asked me to speak out, and I cannot ignore that request.

This is a painful post to write and it’s painful to look at these pictures, but this is an important post to write so we can stand together against bigotry, add in light and respond appropriately.

Yesterday vile flyers of hate were found poster around the ASU campus. The flyers contained anti-Jewish tropes, and disturbing imagery.

Coming days after the hateful torching of our sister center, Chabad at the University of Delaware, the flyers have alarmed many.

We were quickly in contact with the ASU administration, and they took immediate action to have the flyers taken down, and launched an investigation into who was responsible. The ASU administration, under the leadership of Dr. Michael Crow have always made combating antisemitism a priority and have been a dependable ally to the Jewish community. We appreciate their support greatly.

Such actions and displays of hate are not a reflection of our University, or our campus culture. The ASU community is one of love, support and mutual respect for one another.

Many students have asked what should our response to such hateful words be.

The answer is twofold.

Words of bigotry can never be ignored. When condemnable words go unanswered, It emboldens the evil, and leads to negative actions.

We appreciate all those who have spoken out against these flyers I encourage everyone to take a moment and publicly reject such language.

The second response is a practical one.

While these flyers do not reflect the ASU leadership and campus community in any way, actions such as these darken our campus somewhat, and call for a renewed expression of light since this happened here. As such, we are asking everyone to do an extra good deed to bring more light to our community.

My personal mentor and the Foremost leader of Judaism in the Modern era, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson often taught that in a place of darkness a small amount of light has great effect. Each of us can do an extra good deed to help someone in need, or go out of our way for someone else, and in that way, bring increased light to our community.

When we are faced with opposition and anti-Jewish sentiment, we cannot back down. It is a time to add in Jewish pride and to live more Jewishly. Show your Jewish pride and protect your home by adding a Mezuzah to your door, put on Teffilin, light Shabbat candles and do an extra Mitzvah.

Chabad will continue working with the ASU administration to address issues affecting the Jewish community. We deeply appreciate the support of the ASU Administration, all those who have reached out, and all who support our dear ASU Jewish community during this time.

Any students who feel troubled or intimidated by these flyers please reach out to us. We’re always here for you and we want to listen and help.

When there are forces of darkness and hate, light and love make them melt away. Let us add in light and love today and every day.

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