While we in the Buffalo community have seen encouraging signs of increased understanding among various religious groups, news of shocking expressions of anti-Semitism and other acts of bigotry have come to us through the media and even from Western New York.
Desecration of cemeteries and graves in France and Canada indicate a pathology with ominous overtones. The recent vandalism perpetrated at Temple Beth Zion in Buffalo, as well as the destruction of windows in a number of Buffalo-area churches, brings the reality of such bigotry disturbingly close to home.
Buffalo Area Metropolitan Ministries, an inter-religious organization, is committed to increasing understanding among faiths. Beyond understanding, it is committed to encouraging dialogue among people of different faiths and mobilizing people of different faiths to work together for the good of the whole community.
Ignorance and fear, reinforced by historic prejudices and narrow religious teaching, are always involved in acts of bigotry such as those that have been happening here and in other communities. BAMM, therefore, calls upon all citizens of Western New York to recognize and reject those counsels of ignorance and fear which lead to acts of bigotry and which seek to demean racial, religious and ethnic minorities.
Let us instead celebrate the rich diversity of people which adds to the richness of the human family and enhances the cultural mix of the Buffalo community.
RABBI ELIOT P. MARRUS
Buffalo Area Metropolitan Ministries