Fifty Christian clergy and church leaders from across the UK met for a one-day conference at the National Holocaust Centre in Nottinghamshire this week, the first time it has taken place here. The conference was organised by the Council of Christians and Jews and all the participants were graduates of CCJ’s annual seminar at Yad Vashem, the International School of Holocaust Studies (ISHS) in Jerusalem.

This seminar, which has been running for over 10 years, has been described by the ISHS as “unique in the whole of Europe”. Its purposes are to educate clergy about the Holocaust and to equip church leaders to be ambassadors for Holocaust education in their communities.

Speakers at the Nottinghamshire conference were Dr James Smith CBE, co-founder of the National Holocaust Centre and chief executive of the Aegis Trust; Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, senior rabbi to Masorti Judaism and a president of CCJ; Gillian Walnes-Perry MBE, founder and former chief executive of the Anne Frank Trust; and Canon Dr Ed Newell, principal of the educational charity, Cumberland Lodge.

Senior programme manager at CCJ, Rob Thompson, said: “CCJ’s conference was a powerful opportunity for church leaders to respond to their Holocaust learning and commit to passing it on in their communities. In the present climate, and on the eve of Yom HaShoah, this effort is even more important. As memory slips more and more into history, Holocaust remembrance and education are as essential as ever. Antisemitism is still an issue”.

The conference was supported by a grant from the Association of Jewish Refugees.

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