Interfaith groups commemorate Holocaust


PROVIDENCE — Temple Emanu-El hosted an interfaith commemoration of the Holocaust, or Shoah as it’s known in the Jewish community, on May 1, featuring a documentary, music, a candle lighting, and a reciting of the names of relatives who had perished in the genocide.

In his opening remarks, Rabbi Wayne Franklin noted that the event came just days after a shooting at a synagogue in California that left one dead and three wounded.

“Tonight we come together in friendship and mutual respect, determined that no fences will come between us. We adamantly affirm that never again will hatred separate us or permit us to discriminate against one another,” Rabbi Franklin said, noting the presence of survivors and the memories of their relatives on that day. “We’re keenly aware of the human cost of discrimination.”

The evening began with a procession of survivors and their relatives who lit candelabras on either side of the main sanctuary.

The event featured a documentary, “The Fence Between Us,” which was introduced by University of Rhode Island student filmmakers Katherine Fortey and Griffin Alix. It also included a playing of “The Most Beautiful Time of Life,” a piece of music composed by prisoners at Auschwitz.

In addition several state lawmakers were awarded the Never Again Award for their efforts in passing legislation mandating education on genocide in Rhode Island public schools.

The evening ended with a prayer in memory of those who died in the Holocaust, accompanied by a reciting of the names of relatives of Rhode Island residents.

Father John Allard, O.P., a professor of theology at Providence College, delivered the closing prayer.

Father John Kiley, the Ecumenical Officer for the Diocese of Providence, said the Church teaches that the Jewish people have a special place in God’s providential plan, which is reflected in their endurance.

“The promises made by God to the Jewish people are irrevocable. The Second Vatican Council was very clear and emphatic that God keeps his promises. The ability of the Jewish people to survive centuries of persecution, especially the persecutions of the last century in Germany, Poland and Russia, is certainly evidence of God’s continuing love for his chosen people. The Christian world should certainly follow the lead of God in respecting the world-wide Jewish community,” Father Kiley said.