My Jewish Neighbours

For years I have met my Jewish neighbours at the annual Holocaust memorial event and every year we exchange warm greetings and promise to meet up. But it just never happened.


It’s actually my fault, because I had an open invitation to participate in Shabbat every Friday evening. The invitation was so genuine that I was promised, if I attended, wine would be replaced with grape juice.


This year’s Holocaust Memorial Event was different. The massacres in Gaza were fresh on all our minds. We had demonstrated, we had donated and we watched on in horror. We all greeted each other with tears in our eyes, feeling ashamed that despite our remembrance of yesteryear we were just as powerless to prevent it happening again.


So with firm resolve, we decided we had power amongst ourselves and we could make a difference. We decided we must meet and get respective communities to properly know each other. That first meeting happened yesterday.


After three hours we were still talking and we could not drag ourselves away from each other. These were the comments that filled our discussions:

“We have so much in common.”

“We’re really cousins.”

“The killing must stop.”

“It’s so good to meet you.”


I was told that the “golden years” for the Jews was centuries ago when all communities would learn and trade in Baghdad and Cordoba. We also agreed that Jews in Israel had also been murdered in the conflict and that should be equally condemned.


Well, my meetings are going to continue because I’ve made new friends. I suggest we all try and stretch out our hands to each other rather than view each other with suspicion. What’s the worst that could happen?


I previously arranged exchange visits between Muslim and Christian faith communities at ground level. Now I’m going to do the same between Jewish and Muslim faith communities. If we don’t do this, we remain divided in our humanity and that’s just what the hate mongers want. If we befriend each other the BNP can be extinguished overnight.


Politicians will never solve our problems. More often than not, they create them. Some commentators suggest it’s only because of problems that politicians are able to justify themselves. It’s a scary thought.




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