Monday, April 24, 2017, marks Yom HaShoah, a day when many people in the Jewish community commemorate the lives of those who died in the Holocaust.
It is a day that we too as Christians should not only mourn the loss of life during the Holocaust but also reflect on our obligation to stand firm in the face of antisemitism in our midst.
In our 2003 statement, Bearing Faithful Witness, The United Church of Canada affirmed our common calling with Jews and others to align ourselves with God’s world-mending work, and encouraged all people in our church to be vigilant in resisting antisemitism and anti-Judaism in church and society. We continue to affirm those commitments and to remind our members that we need to cultivate love, understanding, and acceptance of one another rather than giving in to fears that provide fertile ground for hate and extremism to flourish.
Regrettably, there is no shortage of incidents to which we can direct our attention. Over the past months there have been numerous reports of acts of vandalism to Jewish community centres, synagogues, and cemeteries, often punctuated by hateful graffiti.
How can this be? Have the lessons of the past not taught us anything about the tentacles of hate that so stealthily creep into society if no one takes notice?
We call on people in the United Church to take concrete, peaceful actions to support those who have been targeted by hatred and fear. This must be a common cause for people of all faiths and of no faith. We are in this together. And we must act in unison. Even the smallest gestures of solidarity can make a difference.