United States / 02-03-2017
California Bishop responds to antisemitic cemetery desecrations, bomb threats
On behalf of the Episcopal Diocese of California, I want to extend my heartfelt condolences to the families and communities affected by the desecration of the Jewish cemeteries in Philadelphia on Sunday and in St. Louis last week. The incidents come as Jewish community centers and schools around the country are experiencing an unprecedented wave of bomb threats and evacuations. In the Bay Area on Monday, bomb threats were called into the Anti-Defamation League in San Francisco and the Jewish Community Centers in Palo Alto and San Rafael.
The sight of toppled grave markers and frightened community center workers evacuating their buildings is a chilling reminder of the climate of hate that ushered in the murder of six million Jewish people during World War II. While we in the United States may not be standing on the precipice of another holocaust, a repeat of that horrific chapter in history is not out of the question if hateful acts go unacknowledged and unchecked.
As Episcopalians and Christians, we have long considered ourselves part of a larger family that includes Jewish people and Muslim people - who are also under threat. They are our siblings with whom we share much of our history and recognize common threads in our faith traditions. In that context, an act of hate against one of us is an affront to all. I urge all members of the Episcopal Diocese of California to reach out to our Jewish and Muslim neighbors and look for new ways to speak out and stand in solidarity. We have greater strength when we stand together. I encourage you to visit your local synagogue or mosque and ask how you can support them. Your local Jewish Community Center likely offers classes, guest lectures, and rich cultural programs open to all - please show you are a supportive member of the community. Here at the Diocese of California, we remain committed to our partnership with the San Francisco Interfaith Council, a prominent voice against discrimination and hate. Please support them and pray for their work at this crucial time in our nation's history.
The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus
Bishop of California