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92Y Remembers Elie Wiesel

With Elie Wiesel’s passing, one of the great people of our time takes his leave, and the radiance of human decency and greatness dims a bit. He was a guiding beacon at 92Y for more than half a century, and his pursuit of justice and his unwavering belief in the power of humanity embodied our most deeply held values.

Elie Wiesel was courageous enough to speak unabashedly to rulers of nations and humble enough to tug at our hearts. As a witness to the dominion of evil he spoke out forcefully on behalf of all victims of injustice and brutality. He innately comprehended our sorrow and weakness but lifted our spirits to help us envision possibilities. He was an elegist for the millions annihilated in the Holocaust and a psalmist who called all of us to embody the best of humankind.

And when we fell short of being our best selves, Elie Wiesel buoyed us with his two favorite words: “and yet….” “And yet…” was the birth of his unflagging optimism. He helped us believe that even when there is war, we can yet envision and work for peace. When we are hurting, we can yet heal. In times of uncertainty we can yet hold strong to our anchors. When we are bereft we can still believe.

When asked what he had done with his life, Elie Wiesel answered “I have tried to keep memory alive…. I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices.”

Over nearly half a century, on 180 occasions, Elie Wiesel graced the stage at 92Y with his wonder and wisdom. His memory is indeed a great blessing. We extend condolences to his family. We thank him for sharing his soul with us, and we commit to never forgetting, to never becoming indifferent. We will hold on to his optimism and we will passionately strive for courage, decency and valor to honor his memory.