News Story

Mormons Host Christian Commemoration of the Shoah in Montreal

The Christian Jewish Dialogue of Montreal held its 34th annual Christian commemoration of the Shoah on Sunday, 14 April 2013. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hosted the event.

This is the first time the Montreal Latter-day Saint community has participated in this tradition that brings together Jews and Christians on the Holocaust Remembrance Day (known as Yom Hashoah in Hebrew) to commemorate the approximately six million Jews and five million others who died in the Holocaust during World War II. 

Since 1980, the Christian Jewish Dialogue of Montreal has made a commitment to invite a different Christian church each year to engage with members of Montreal’s Jewish communities in a shared act of remembrance on the Sunday closest to Yom Hashoah (Day of the Shoah). Shoah means “devastating storm” in Hebrew and is the word Jews use to describe the Holocaust.

In the past 33 years, participants in the Montreal Christian Commemoration of the Shoah have included numerous French- and English-speaking churches, including Roman Catholic, United Church, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Ukrainian, Catholic, Anglican and Unitarian churches, among many others. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has had a representative participate in the Christian Jewish Dialogue of Montreal for the past three years, which resulted in the invitation to host the Christian Commemoration of the Shoah this year.

The evening’s ceremony included music and prayers from members of the Church, testimony from a Holocaust survivor who lived as a hidden child during the war, and teachings and a candle lighting ceremony led by Rabbi Lisa Grushcow and Cantor Rachelle Schubert of Temple Emanu-El Beth Sholom.

Reflecting the spirit of the event and its goal as described by Rabbi Grushcow, to come together in understanding and acceptance of one another’s differences, the event was attended by 240 residents of Montreal representing a range of religious communities. Among those in attendance were Dr. Victor Goldbloom, a prominent advocate in the Canadian Jewish community; Ms. Catherine Person representing the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre; Ms. Mary Deros, councillor for the city of Montreal; and Mr. Lawrence Bergman, a member of the National Assembly of Quebec.

Speakers at the event highlighted not only the importance of remembering the lives lost and the individuals and families traumatized by the Holocaust but also the importance of using interfaith events such as the Christian Commemoration of the Shoah as educational opportunities that can promote fellowship between communities. President Eric Jarvis, the stake president of the Montreal Quebec Mount Royal Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, exhorted attendees to see in the Shoah a reminder to promote religious tolerance and advocate for the human rights of people of all faiths.

Ana Fratta, one of the Latter-day Saint organizers of the event, commented, “The spirit here tonight was one of friendship and goodwill. We are grateful to the Montreal Jewish community for their willingness to share their remembrance of the Shoah with us.”

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