Rainbow Place > Interfaith Service

Interfaith Holocaust Memorial Service

April 23, 2001

We begin our service in remembrance of the Holocaust in silence.

Let us surround our worship, our community in prayer, with silence, silence in preparation for the Presence of God.

Out of silence and darkness, the creative
Word of God was spoken. It first took the
form of wind, of ruach, God's spirit hovering
over the waters of chaos to control them, to
hold them back and to make possible the
goodness of creation itself.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.

And God said "Let there be light"; and there was light. Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness ... So God created humankind in the divine image; in the image of God humankind was created; male and female God created them. And it was so. And God saw everything that had been made, and behold, it was very good.

But there can be another type of silence and another kind of wind. At a time of horror in the middle of the twentieth century, the silence of the world made possible the monstrous cnme of genocide, the attempted murder of a whole people for no other reason than that they were a particular type of people, a people called by God "the Chosen People"- the Jews.

Six million Jewish men and women, one million children among them, were taken by other human beings to die in gas and fire, their very ashes spewed from the chimneys of Ausch-witz to mingle with the soft breezes of the air and fall, nameless and graveless, spread over a continent that had itself become a graveyard.

Not only did Jews die, caught in the eddies and swirls of the Holocaust, but millions of other faiths and nationalities, Gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally ill and those who espoused political philosophies also lost their lives as victims of

Nazism's diabolically efficient technology of death. But to be Jewish in Nazi Europe of itself meant certain death.

We now light seven candles...

six we light in memory of the six million...

and a seventh one for the generations of the future that they may be beacons of light to all.

As we light these candles, we commit ourselves to responsibility for one another, to build on this earth a world that has no room for hatred, no place for violence. Together, we pray for the strength to fulfill this vocation