The Holocaust, Antisemitism and Israel – Isobel in Jerusalem

NIFI supporter Isobel Kuzma reports on her recent attendance at a Holocaust seminar in Jerusalem.

Isobel (r.) at Israel’s Holocaust memorial ceremony with Christian delegates from around the world.

On April 15th-23rd 2012,  I attended a Christian Leadership Seminar  at Yad Vashem, the National Institute for Holocaust Studies in  Jerusalem. To say this opportunity was an honour and life-changing is an understatement. The topic of the seminar was “The Holocaust,  Antisemitism and Israel.”
Twenty-six delegates from all over the world, from different branches  within the Christian faith, assembled at Yad Vashem to hear and  participate in a series of lectures. We discussed among other things;  “G-d, the Jews, and History”, “Judaism, and Anti-Judaism in  the Ancient World”, “The Final Solution and It’s Implementation”, “The  Righteous among the Nations” and “Confronting Holocaust Denial”. The conference also included an in-depth tour of Yad Vashem, meeting  survivors, being guests at the Yom HaShoah ceremonies, guided tours of  Jerusalem and the land of Israel, creating an educational experience second  to none.

It was humbling to be part of Israel’s national Yom HaShoah (Holocaust memorial)  ceremony, to hear Prime  Minister Netanyahu’s speech and to be among people – including Holocaust survivors, whose bravery and  integrity are inspiring. Each delegate was deeply moved and changed by  the experience.

Yad Vashem is more than a museum; it is truly a memorial to  the communities, the culture, the precious lives, families, spouses and  children who were so cruelly destroyed. Yad Vashem allows us to  experience who these people were and to connect with them in a personal  way. In connecting with them we understand the horror they endured.   There was a great unity and bond within the group of delegates that helped us greatly. Together, we faced the uncomfortable truths of  Antisemitism within Christianity and how it contributed to the Shoah. These truths must be faced in order to prevent further atrocities.

The information from this seminar at Yad Vashem is an absolute necessity  for Christian Leaders. I would like to encourage Christians to  apply for this seminar, that we would be those who repair the breach and restore the relationship between us and the root onto which we, as Christians, believe we are  grafted. As I look around me, I see that many of the problems we face today are  because the younger generation is not familiar with the Holocaust nor  the price paid by past generations for this generation’s freedom.
I hope to maintain a link with Yad Vashem and  to return to complete another educators’ seminar that will enable me to share what I have  learnt with people back in Northern Ireland. I would like to help others to gain understanding that the  Nation of Israel stands as a testimony to Life. I also hope to use what I have learned to honour the memory of those who perished in the  Shoah–the children, the families, and the communities.
I would like to encourage everyone who reads this, to visit Yad Vashem and learn.
As Mr Netanyahu declared recently, “Let us endevour to be those who are familiar with the past in order to understand the present and in understanding the  present, see what lies ahead.”