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In Every Generation: The Return of Anti-Semitism – Pesah Day 1, 5779

These days of the Passover festival are ideal to show to the world how we all together should go for a peaceful world where everybody, whatever their faith can live together and are prepared to reach out a helping hand when needed.

*

To remember

burning of Notre Dame de Paris =  fitting metaphor for current moment, when religious engagement is on the decline in the West, + order of the Old World continues to slip away.

living in a time in which many Jewish people feel kinship with Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, + Buddhist neighbors > our partners in faith

Religious differences historically yielded enmity + outright hatred between people of different faiths

blood libel accusations > Jews in medieval Europe falsely accused of killing Christian children to use their blood for making matzah, often emerged around this time of year.

open the door “for Elijah” during seder = attempt to show non-Jewish neighbors > are not doing anything nefarious.

open door = metaphor for seeking opportunities to collaborate with our neighbors for the common good.

meeting in New York convened by the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, at the office of the American Jewish Committee in New York to share information about anti-Semitism

special guest, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, diplomat from the Maldives, United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion > last big project documenting human rights abuses in Iran + preparing report on worldwide anti-Semitism to be delivered to the United Nations General Assembly next fall.

Mark Potok, formerly of the Southern Poverty Law Center and a well-known authority on hate groups,

Ira Forman, Oren Segal, Mark Molinari, Steven Bayme, Brian Levin, Jeff Finkelstein+ Seth Adelson seated around the table.

U.S.A.

  • has seen annual increases in hate crimes vastly over-represented
  • Hate crimes against Jews are vastly over-represented; 13% of all hate crimes = anti-Semitic.
  • White supremacists focus fighting the “white genocide,” “engineered by Jews” + the web to foment horrible ideas about Jews.
  • Anti-Semitism = evident on the left and the right of political spectrum

The Modern Rabbi

It was indeed tragic to watch Notre Dame de Paris on fire last week, to ache for the loss of a building so deeply connected to the history of Paris and Europe, to lament the destruction of antiquities and works of art. But the burning of Notre Dame is, I am sorry to report, a fitting metaphor for our current moment, when religious engagement is on the decline in the West, and the order of the Old World continues to slip away.

Gargoyles of Notre Dame

It is notable to me that we are living in a time in which many Jewish people feel kinship with our Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist neighbors, our partners in faith; consider the interfaith cooperation that has happened here in Pittsburgh in the wake of the 18th of Heshvan (the Hebrew date of Oct. 27th, 2018) – the local Muslim community fundraising…

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