At a Holocaust remembrance ceremony in Wilmington Thursday, elected officials joined faith leaders and members of Delaware’s Jewish community in remembering lives lost in the Holocaust.
Speakers emphasized the importance of teaching younger generations about the Holocaust to prevent history from repeating. They also condemned more recent anti-semitic violence in the U.S.
Gov. John Carney invoked last weekend’s synagogue shooting in Poway, California, which killed one person and left several others injured, and a shooting last fall at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh that killed 11 people.
“Year after year I’ve been coming to this event, and I keep hoping that it will feel less urgent,” he said. “The synagogue shootings in California and in Pittsburgh make the importance of today all the more clear.”
Rabbi Steven Saks of Adas Kodesch Shel Emeth is president of the Delaware Association of Rabbis and Cantors. He says the recent violence gave added meaning to Thursday’s event.
“It only reminds us of the importance of making sure that when we say ‘never again’ … that unfortunately this evil does exist,” he said. “We have to do everything in our power as Americans to come together and to stand united against that type of intolerance.”
Seth Katzen, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Delaware (JFD), says his organization began providing active shooter trainings to First State synagogues in 2017 after several bomb threats were made to the Siegel Jewish Community Center in Talleyville. He says JFD has additional safety programming in collaboration with Delaware State Police planned for later this month.
According to the Anti-Defamation League’s annual audit of antisemitic incidents in the U.S., Delaware experienced two incidents in 2018— down from 13 in 2017.