As 2020 gets underway we are more aware than ever of the importance and fragility of our connections as local and national community, and of the significance of CCJ’s work. This hit home for me this week while at a meeting for a new grant fund. There were several hundred people present: leaders of community groups, advocacy groups, charities, and local and national officials. There were many faith groups there, including Jewish groups and interfaith groups. All of us wanted the best for our communities, and had much to offer, but none had CCJ’s unique structure, mission, and reach.
Spread nationally as we are, we have always understood that dialogue is always local and that community links are vital. Increasingly, we are trying to find ways to expand our reach online and on the ground, to raise public awareness and attract new members. This month we launched an Instagram page for CCJ, a site several weeks in the planning by our national team here in London. If used well, it can foster the kind of dialogue we want to encourage, and help build the kind of communities we want to live in. Please find us and follow here. Thank you to Esther Sills, Katharine Crew, and Rob Thompson for their work on it.
This week our thoughts are also turning to Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January, which will be marked locally by our members and Yad Vashem programme alumni, and of course nationally. It will be my first Holocaust Memorial Day in post and, as this HMD marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a milestone for us all. As we see antisemitism and hate crime on the rise, and as we are aware of the fragility of our national fabric, remembering the atrocities of the Shoah has never been more important. Our work of Holocaust education, indeed all our work of dialogue and social action, has never been more needed. Thank you for what you bring to our shared mission. More information about events and resources is below.
Wishing you a peaceful Shabbat and a restful weekend,
Applications are now open for CCJ’s annual seminar at the International School of Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. The seminar—which will take place Monday 12 to Thursday 22 October 2020—is open to ordained Christian clergy and lay church leaders. Now in its 14th year, the seminar is a unique opportunity for church leaders to learn about the Holocaust, pre-war Jewish European life, and post-Holocaust theology from the world’s leading experts. In doing so, participants will become part of our active network of over 250 "alumni" across the UK, committed to passing on Holocaust learning in their churches and communities, championing Christian-Jewish relations, and challenging antisemitism.
For more information on the programme and how to apply, please contact Senior Programme Manager, Rob Thompson, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Holocaust Memorial Day Resources
Holocaust Memorial Day 2020 (27 January) will mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Inspired by this year's theme Stand Together, our annual resource reflects on the complex roles of Christians during the Holocaust. It encourages churches in the UK to mark Holocaust Memorial Day in their services and in their communities and includes suggested prayers and commentaries on the readings set for the Sunday closest to Holocaust Memorial Day. There are notes on how to lead an all-age address, examples of survivor testimony, poetry, and images to encourage reflections. We are deeply grateful to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chief Rabbi, Presidents of CCJ, for their contributions to the resource. For the first time this year we have also included stories of Christians who have been recognised by Yad Vashem as Righteous among the Nations for their work in saving the lives of Jews during the Holocaust. These stories can be shared with congregations to encourage the sort of solidarity between faiths which the theme of Stand Together powerfully invokes.
CCJ Birmingham invites you to their upcoming branch meeting. CCJ Chair Ann Conway-Jones outlines the meeting below:
As our contribution to Holocaust Memorial Day, Michael Kretzmer, one of our committee members, will be sharing his film of a journey to name and remember the Jews of Lithuania, massacred in 1941. He has called the film The Lost Names of Lithuania. It is a moving account in which Jews of Lithuanian heritage meet with present-day Lithuanians facing up to their history.