By Steve Spreitzer
As I was preparing to send greetings to my friends in the Jewish community as they finish preparations for the beginning of Passover, I learned of the horror which took place in Kansas City Sunday, claiming the lives of three innocent people.
I was struck by the irony of the Jewish community beginning a weeklong commemoration of their liberation from slavery, while they are reminded of the hate that has followed them throughout history. I recall attending my first Seder in the home of Miriam Imerman and her husband some 20 years ago, which helped me learn in a new way about the long history of hate the Jewish people have endured.
During nearly 25 years of interfaith work and as a part of an organization with a 73-year history working with the Jewish community, I have come to know of the steely-strong faith that has sustained the Jewish people for well over 5,000 years.
The lives lost due to the act of one hateful man in Kansas City are felt in our community, as the Oak Creek, Wisconsin massacre was felt among our local Sikh community several years ago, or the daily acts of hate are felt by those who follow the other great world religions represented here in Michigan.
This hate is also experienced daily by our sisters and brothers who are black, brown, red and yellow. This hate is also experienced daily by those with a different gender identity or sexual orientation. To know one is hated is one thing, but to be reminded of that hatred on a far too regular basis in another, leading me to ask what we can do to interrupt this message of hate, especially in the days ahead, as the members of our Jewish community gather to remember their liberation.
What better way to join them than to remind them of our gratitude for their lived faith and myriad contributions to the good of this community. To begin, I would encourage you to extend Passover greetings to those you know who are Jewish. If you don’t know anyone who is Jewish, which is an unfortunate reality for too many of us who may work in diverse settings, but return to segregated communities, I would encourage you to reach out to our three primary Jewish organizations: American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Community Relations Council. You might also contact a local synagogue for a tour. And if you haven’t been to our Holocaust Museum bring a friend and make a day of it.
As we have heard said over the years, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. Please join me in the chorus of voices lifting up a message of love and appreciation, loud enough to drown out the voices of hate, who have lingered far too long.
Onward to making the places we work and live, places where all people are welcome and treated fairly.