This event happened in our own Grand Rapids community this past week: Rabbi Michael Schadick arrived at Temple Emanuel Sunday morning around 8 a.m. and found threatening and disturbing posters at the synagogue. One had a picture of Hitler with the words, "Did you forget about me?" The other read, "A crusade against Semite led subhumans." The posters were credited to the Vorherrschaft Division, an extremist neo-Nazi group.
As pastors of the Grand Rapids Association of Pastors, we condemn this evil, cowardly action and all hatred of its kind. The data shows that we are experiencing an explosion in incidents of anti-Semitism in the United States. The Anti-Defamation League has reported that acts of anti-Semitism are at historically high levels. We all remember with horror the events of April 27, 2019, when an anti-Semite brutally attacked congregants and the rabbi of Chabad of Poway synagogue with an assault rifle. We remember the Pittsburgh synagogue rampage, killing 11 worshippers. We remember the Charlottesville rally where neo-Nazis chanted, “Jews will not replace us.”
We believe that as Christian leaders we have a moral obligation to vocally condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms. Moreover, the command to love God and neighbor precludes anti-Semitism. A Christian cannot in good conscience do either of those things and be racist and anti-Semitic. Both of our faiths confess that all persons are made in the image of God and we cannot love our neighbor if we hate them and spread lies about them.
We need to stand with and stand up for our Jewish neighbors, learn from them, and show solidarity with them. Remaining silent is not an option. Please pray for the Temple Emanuel congregation in your services Sunday.