Today-January 27, 2018 is Holocaust Remembrance Day

Yad Vashem Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

I took this photo in 2014, when we visited this museum. It was a most moving and informative experience.

Today is Yom HaShoah-Holocaust Remembrance Day. A day to remember the millions of Jewish people across Europe who perished in the concentration camps of the Nazis. A day to listen to those survivors who are still bearing witness to their experiences in the face of the evils of the Shoah. A day to strengthen our resolve to end all hatred and anti-Semitism. A day to realize that no matter what colour our skin may be, what country we were born in and now live in, what language we speak, God is the Creator of us all, loves us all, and in response to this love, calls and gifts us to love one another. A day to pray to God to help us all to continue to grow in this love in thought, word and action.

If there is a Holocaust Remembrance Day Service or event in your community, I encourage you to attend.

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70th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen

Today, April 15, 2015, marks the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp by the British army. Last night on PBS, there was an historical film of that event. There were dead, emaciated bodies that numbered in the thousands, and were left out in the open for all to witness. How some were able to survive such raw evil is amazing, yet they did, even though their lives were changed and deeply wounded forever.

The Holocaust Educational Trust has produced a 13 page PDF on the subject, which is available online here. I encourage readers to read it, as there are several Holocaust survivor accounts included in the document.

Tomorrow is Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day

Here is an intercession for Yom Hashoah, from Eugene J. Fisher & Leon Klenicki, An Interreligious Holocaust Memorial Service: From Desolation to Hope (New York & Chicago: Stimulus Foundation and Liturgy Training Publications, 1990), p. 23:
Exalted, compassionate God, grant perfect peace in your sheltering Presence, among the holy and the pure, to the soul of all the men, women and children of the house of Israel, to the Righteous Gentiles, to the millions who died defending the right to be different, at a time of madness and terror.
May their memory endure, may it inspire truth and loyalty in our lives, in our religious commitment and tasks. May their memory be a blessing and sign of peace for all humanity. And let us say all together: Amen.

Holocaust denial and antisemitism

 

Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic act of hatred very troublesome 

Recently, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre carried out an e-mail petition campaign against Roman Catholic bishop, Richard Williamson, who denies that any Jews perished in gas chambers during the Holocaust. Most troublesome is Pope Benedict XVI’s reinstating of Williamson and the Vatican’s act of blocking the e-mail petition. After Vatican II’s outstanding work of reconciliation between the Jewish people and the RC Church, this is certainly a huge step backwards. The pope needs to take immediate action to reverse his decision, discipline Williamson, and issue an official apology to the Jewish people. Anything less would be a contradiction to the Second Vatican Council.

 In another act of anti-Semitic hatred, fuelled by the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez; last Friday at about 10:00 P.M. until 3:00 A.M. Saturday morning, the Caracas Jewish synagogue was vandalized by hoodlums who desecrated it with anti-Semitic slogans. The Jewish community was so fearful that they did not even attend synagogue last Sabbath.

For more information visit the following websites: Simon Wiesenthal Center USA and Wiesenthal Centre Canada.