Interfaith Genocide Service 2011 pt. 1

Interfaith-images (2)Daniel Goldhagen is a Jewish scholar of genocide, living and working in Massachusetts. The son of a Holocaust survivor, his mission is investigating genocidal movements around the modern world: how they start, are perpetuated and escalated—and how they can be prevented. In his groundbreaking and shocking book, Worse than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity, he catalogs whole alphabets of genocides—Armenia, Bosnia, Cambodia…—statistically documenting not ‘just’ six million, or twenty, or even 30 million, but 129 million people killed in the modern era alone, far more than in all the wars combined. One by one, he analyzes these horrific campaigns against unarmed civilians, and, from out of his findings, makes clear recommendations for how they can be prevented in the future.
In his documentary movie, also called Worse than War, Goldhagen returns with his father to the Holocaust site where much of his family met their deaths. Interspersed between scenes with his father, are cuts of Goldhagen traveling the world, interviewing both survivors and perpetrators of genocide. He goes to Rwanda, Bosnia, Peru, and, he also comes to Lowell to interview survivors of the Khmer Rouge.
I find his work a profoundly courageous, ethical, and essential response to the Holocaust.
This year, on our Holocaust Memorial Day, Yom Hashoah, May 1, Temple Emanuel joins in solidary with GLILA, the Greater Lowell Interfaith Alliance, in presenting this hard and important film. Following the movie, there will be an Interfaith Service against Genocide, addressing genocidal movements in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Clergy and religious leaders representing religions around the world, including Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, will offer music, prayers, readings, and even dramatic presentations. There will be lamentations over millions lost as well as spiritual and political roadmaps for healing and prevention in the future.
This afternoon event is not recommended for anyone under the age of 16. I do recommend it for any adult person able to confronting a scourge of human reality.
The morning of this event, in the Religious School, a Buddhist priest will read a moving story about a Japanese child injured by an atomic bomb, and then teach our kids and their parents how to make origami peace cranes, some of which will adorn the sanctuary in the afternoon. This unique program is open to all the TEMV community and will start around 11.
This interfaith movie, service, and Religious School program is not the only way to observe Yom Hashoah, and certainly not the only way that TEMV will ever remember and respond to the Holocaust. However, I believe this is one very important way to observe and to respond. I am profoundly proud of Temple Emanuel, of GLILA, and of the Merrimack Valley that we are able to not only make this statement, but also respond in solidarity together, working to mutually educate, heal, and, God-Willing, prevent this continuing crime against all humanity.
Put it on your calendars. Sunday afternoon, May 1st, beginning at 2pm, at our own Temple. To come is to risk being deeply affected and changed. (As most of us already know, changing ourselves is a necessary step in changing the world.)

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