Today is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. I once heard Minneapolis' Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman say that there are about 14 million Jews in the world today, but that if the Shoah had not happened, there would be about 59 million. I've written before in this blog about the persistent anti-semitism that exists in the Catholic church, and which is still a source of some uncomfortable surprise to me whenever I encounter it. It came up again just last night out to dinner with some folks, actually, an angry denunciation of "Zionism," ostensibly uttered in the service of peace in the Middle East. I've come to see anti-Zionism as thinly-veiled anti-semitism, and I wonder what peace movement folks are thinking when they engage in it. It's one of (several) reasons why I'm no longer so active in the local peace movement, to tell the truth. Certainly the situation of the Palestinians needs immediate attention and redress. Certainly it's appalling. But why do so many people forget that Israel's neighbors have continued to vow to wipe them off the map? Why, when Palestinians are attacked, are the daily rocket attacks into Israeli territory not also denounced? Is it that lingering anti-semitism that causes the blindness? What is it? I don't know, but I do know I'm with Rose Thering, OP, who said:
"To be a better Christian you need to find out where you are rooted. Take a good look at Judaism. Our roots are in Judaism. Jewish people have much to teach us. We must learn from our elder brothers and sisters."
Our Christian spirituality is so much enriched and enhanced by a good grounding in Judaism and Jewish ethical teachings and practices. We must not let the pre-Vatican II contempt teaching and fearsome divisions continue to divide us. The Jewish people deserve a homeland. So do the Palestinians. The two things are not mutually exclusive. Peace efforts must go on. So must Israel. What is not acceptable is the ongoing contempt for the Jewish people, and the continuing rhetoric about their destruction.
BTW, there's a good movie about Sister Rose Thering, who was a great proponent of understanding between Christians and Jews, available on DVD, called "Sister Rose's Passion." Check this website to learn more about it. I got it from Netflix, so it's available here and there.
Prayer for today:
Exalted, compassionate God, grant perfect peace in your sheltering Presence, among the holy and the pure, to the souls 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. Amen.