This evening I am sitting in a Holiday Inn near Luton airport in anticipation of the next few days being a mixture of education, enlightenment and another step on my journey of faith, as I prepare to take part in a ten day seminar at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem.
Yad Vashem exists as the ultimate source for Holocaust education, documentation and research, and as the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust, it safeguards its memory of the past and imparts its meaning for the future. As Christian Church leaders we are there to gain in-depth learning in the hope that we will take this learning home to our churches and communities.
‘And to them will I give
in my house and within my walls
a memorial and a name (Yad Vashem)
… that shall not be cut off.’
I, personally, have always been keen on studying the cause and effect that the Holocaust has had on history, particularly in relation to interfaith matters and I believe that ongoing dialogue between faiths is vital, because without it there can surely be no understanding. Indeed, should not every Christian engage with the Holocaust in order to gain greater understanding of this complex period in history and the development of anti-Judaism in Christianity, and to consider how to stand up against prejudice in the world today?
So travel with me as I begin this journey, share in some of the sights and insights from the Holy Land as I encounter them, and no doubt weep with me as I face the past and the part that the Christian church and people played on that stage; and hopefully the part we can play in the future.
I am very grateful that this trip is being made possible through the generosity of the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ), the Council on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the organisation of Rob Thompson, Programme Manager for CCJ