TWO VOICES: Do Jews have a special responsibility to remember victims of other genocides?
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

TWO VOICES: Do Jews have a special responsibility to remember victims of other genocides?

Two Voices
Two Voices

This week Two Voices asks: what can our community do to help the world’s refugees?

Two Voices

Rabbi Jason Holtz says…

Jason Holtz
Jason Holtz

A prominent part of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem is the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations, whose sole purpose is to remember non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

They are remembered as heroes precisely because they could have turned a blind eye. They could have decided they wouldn’t put themselves and their families in danger to help. They didn’t, and we celebrate them. Their example teaches the importance of caring about people who are different. One way to do that is to remember other atrocities.

Twenty years ago this month, thousands of Muslim Bosniaks were massacred in and around Srebrenica during the Bosnian War, and other heinous crimes such as mass rapes and the forceful transfer of tens of thousands also took place.

It was genocide and many other groups have also been targeted, including the Hutus in Rwanda and the Armenians.

Genocide can happen when the world doesn’t see it or doesn’t act swiftly enough.

We need to see it, to act, and to convince others to act. When that happens we can make “Never Again” not just a hope but a reality.

Jason Holtz is rabbi at Bromley Reform Synagogue

Rabbi Dr Barbara Borts says…

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men by Bosnian Serbs, who once shared the country with them.

Barbara Borts
Barbara Borts

This tragedy is all too emblematic of the 20th (and sadly, the 21st) centuries; among the many wonderful accomplishments of humanity, and despite the horror of the Holocaust, people still murder those who do not share their faith, ethnic background or sexual orientations, and sometimes even those of their own with whose views they do not agree.

Remembering victims of genocide is everyone’s responsibility. But we Jews perhaps have an extra obligation, enjoined on us by our history, the Holocaust, the silence of many, and the denials of some. We need to be among those who bear witness because we have suffered the brutal reality of inhumanity.

Remembering after the fact, however, is nowhere near as vital as protesting and publicising and being counted among those who believe all life is sacred.

Jewish voices should be among the loudest whenever people are being victimised and slaughtered. To our post-Holocaust twin mottos of Remember and Never Again, we must add the pledge to remember all other victims and be in the forefront of those trying to ensure it really does never happen again.

Dr Barbara Borts is rabbi at Darlington Hebrew Congregation

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments