Yom HaShoah, 2012

I’ve just returned from the Yom HaShoah (holocaust remembrance) service at Temple Beth Torah in Fremont, California. This annual program is sponsored by Tri-City Interfaith Council, and I have attended it several times.

My mood is always sober as the service begins, because I know I will hear of atrocities which are almost beyond belief. But there is great power in confronting the truth, facing what humans are capable of doing to other humans.

This post may seem off-topic, since this blog is about theists and atheists. But I want to find ways of breaking down artificial barriers that obscure our common humanity. Tonight I felt new hope that this is possible, partly because so many different faith traditions were present in that room. Yom HaShoah originated among Jews, but it is an important tradition for all of us.

It especially inspired me to see at least two Muslims in attendance. One of them participated in the program and the other helped plan it. Our main speaker was a marvelous Jewish storyteller, and I noticed that one of his stories was from the Sufi tradition of Islam.

As I left the temple, I recalled what Hosea Ballou wrote 200 years ago: “If we agree in … love, there is no disagreement that can do us any injury; but if we do not no other agreement can do us any good.”

Thank you for reading this post, and welcome to the readers who have subscribed while I’ve been traveling. If any of you want to suggest specific topics for this blog, please let me know. I’m always happy to hear from people who want to build bridges between seemingly irreconcilable antagonists. That’s what we need, if we’re ever going to have a world that works.

Roger Christan Schriner

To subscribe to Theists & Atheists: Communication & Common Ground, click the “Follow” link on the upper left.