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Chief Rabbi's message

Last updated: 2004-08-31

Chief Rabbi

Chief Rabbi

The Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks, has sent the following message to the Birmingham Jewish community:

I was appalled and saddened by the attack on your cemetery in Witton on Sunday 22nd August.

From my many visits to Birmingham, it has always been apparent to me what a welcoming and dynamic community it is. Whilst you may be small in number, the contributions of the community are immense, not least in the “temporary shelter” that you provide thousands of Jewish students when they come to study in the city.

The attack on the cemetery follows similar attacks on Jewish communal property in the last year, which confirms the unfortunate truth that anti-Semitism still exists amongst certain segments of the population. Previous cases have proved that the best way to respond to such hate-inspired attacks is to reinforce our commitment to Jewish identity and to act to strengthen the community. It is not the one who is hated, but the one who hates, who needs to change. The victim cannot cure the crime.

The Jewish way is never to respond to hate with venom and anger. Instead, there are limitless opportunities for communal and spiritual growth if we grasp the opportunity to renew our dedication to Jewish life. From my knowledge and positive experiences of the Birmingham community, I am sure that your response will be the right one.

At this most important juncture in the Jewish calendar, you are in my thoughts and prayers. Wishing the Birmingham community a ketivah vechatimah tovah for a good and, above all, a peaceful new year.