Thanks to the many friends who are asking how to stand with the Jewish people against the scourge of anti-Semitism. Here are three ideas to get you started.
Unleash the power of prayer
When promises of “thoughts and prayers” in the wake of tragedy are merely a social ritual, they are useless. But real prayer is the most powerful thing a believer can offer.
- Pray for the “peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6). “Jerusalem” here stands not just the entire nation of Israel but for all the Jewish people. Pray for the well-being of the Jewish people, for protection from enemies, and ultimately for salvation in Yeshua.
- It would be wonderful if you would invite other believers from your congregation to join you. Consider beginning a prayer group at your church to pray for the Jewish people – those you know, those in your community, those around the world.
Discover the power of knowledge
Knowledge helps to tear down walls of prejudice. The more you learn about Jewish people, their culture and history, the better prepared you will be to speak up when you hear falsehoods. Invite like-minded Christian friends to learn along with you, so they, too, will be equipped to stand against ignorance and hate.
- If you happen to have a Jewish museum or a Holocaust memorial in your community, arrange a visit with some people from your church or small group. Holocaust museums have helped numerous Christians understand the horrific nature of anti-Semitism and what Jewish people have experienced historically.
- If there is a Jewish Community Center (JCC) close by, avail yourselves of the variety of lectures and courses offered; non-Jews are welcome to attend. Jewish film festivals are held in major cities, and films can be a wonderful vehicle for learning. Or see if a local synagogue or university offers relevant lectures or courses open to the general public.
- If you are not near any of these resources, consider forming a book club at your church. You could read such classics together as Chaim Potok’s The Chosen and develop a greater appreciation for Jewish culture in its manifold varieties.
- If your church invites Jews for Jesus, see if your pastor will be willing to have the speaker give a Sunday School class that introduces the congregation to the history and culture of the Jewish people. You can easily schedule one of our speakers here. It’s an honor for us to be able to equip the local body with resources such as this and more.
Share the power of love through serving
An important response to anti-Semitism is to show that Christians stand in solidarity with the Jewish community. This kind of supportive friendship can take many forms:
- When anti-Semitic incidents occur, write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, or even an op-ed article. Affirm Christian care, prayers and solidarity for the Jewish people.
- Similarly, in the aftermath of such incidents, write a letter to the rabbi of a local synagogue expressing your Christian affirmation of the Jewish people. You might ask if you might bring a small group to a Sabbath service to learn about Judaism and to show solidarity. Most Reform and Conservative synagogues will welcome visitors.
- Consider asking a local Jewish charity, nursing home or cemetery if they would welcome volunteer help. (Note: pebbles left on the top of headstones are not debris to be removed; they are markers indicating a visitor has come.)
- Send greetings cards to Jewish friends at Passover (falls in March or April), the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah – September or October) and Hanukkah (November or December). The exact months vary year to year. A well-stocked card shop will have these available at the appropriate times. If you can’t find them locally, you can send e-cards which are available on various websites.
- Consider using your church’s marquee to express solidarity and comfort to the Jewish community in your area. This could be as simple as posting, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem – Psalm 122:6” or in the wake of a tragedy, “Standing with our Jewish friends. May you be comforted among the mourners of Zion” (the last sentence is a traditional Jewish sentiment).
- Also in the wake of tragedy, send Jewish bereavement cards to a synagogue which has lost loved ones.
- Use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to send wishes to Jewish friends at holiday times or messages of support in difficult circumstances. Consider also putting such messages in your church newsletter as a way of keeping the Jewish community in the hearts and minds of your congregation.
- If your church has a time in the service for public prayers, suggest adding a prayer for the well-being of your local Jewish community and against anti-Semitism, especially in times of tragedy.
- Consider sending gifts to families who have been impacted by anti-Semitic violence, or give to organizations that are extending material and emotional help to those grieving.
If you choose to do any of the above, remember, your help should not be a veiled attempt to evangelize. Evangelism normally happens when you develop relationships with individuals to the point where you are both comfortable sharing at a more intimate level. Standing with Jewish people can lead to those kinds of relationships. And if they don’t – you’ve still done your part in showing God’s love. As Jesus reminds us, the second greatest commandment after loving God Himself is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 23:39; Leviticus 19:18).
This content was adapted from an earlier Jews for Jesus article.