In 2004, St. John’s Lutheran Church offered to host Village Yontif, my outreach program providing free High Holy Day Services to the Greenwich Village community. The Village Yontif community was very generous. When the sizable donations were offered to the church, they were stunned and asked for suggestions of what they should do with the money.  I only asked that they feel free to use the money to better the world in some way. With an audacious grace, this German Lutheran church was inspired to host an inter-faith Kristallnacht remembrance. The artistic heart of that service was a piece of modern dance theater for two, accompanied by live music and the physical shattering of glass on the church altar.

The response was visceral and heartbreaking, and gave birth to an annual Kristallnacht remembrance at St. John’s. Each year since that first time, Pastor Mark Erson has expanded the service with readings, hymns, Kaddish’s and memorial prayers, which have not only deepened the impact, but carried forth the pledge of “Zachor” (“Remember”) and reaffirmed the desire to make sure this never happens again. Ours is a living service that changes a bit with each year, but its deeply moving centerpiece remains:

“The Dance of Broken Glass,
a performance for Kristallnacht”

~Daniel Neiden

The Dance of Broken Glass

A performance for Kristallnacht



Dance created and choreographed by Javier Baca
Overture to The Flying Dutchman by Richard Wagner, edited by Parker Stagmeier
Dance performed by Alli Bradley and Ben Roach
Dance directed by Daniel Neiden
Film directed and edited by Nick Lopez
Film produced by Daniel Neiden, and 27 Jesters

Special thanks to St. John’s Lutheran Church’s community, and Pastor Mark Erson, for their brotherhood and their generosity.

A Candlelight Vigil to commemorate the
  82nd Anniversary of Kristallnacht

The “Night of Broken Glass”
Sunday, November 8, 2020
7:00 p.m.

On the evening of November 9, 1938, the government of Nazi Germany began burning down synagogues and smashing the glass fronts of Jewish shops in Berlin and other large cities in Germany and Austria. That night has been called Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass. From that time onward, the momentum of the Holocaust gathered force and led to wholesale persecution.

Please join St. John’s Lutheran Church for a candlelight service of remembrance commemorating Kristallnacht. The Dance of the Broken Glass (originated in 2006 by Javier Baca and Megan Morris) will be performed by Alli Bradley and Ben Roach. A prayer of remembrance and Hatikvah will be offered by Cantor Daniel Neiden.

The service will end with an active commitment to love, healing and peace for the world.

St. John’s Pastor, Mark Erson, will preside.

All are welcome.

Admission is free. Donations gratefully accepted.