Over the past few months, there have been reports of swastikas appearing around town, including at local schools.

Often the reaction is, “Oh, this is just a bunch of kids goofing off,” or “This is just an isolated event – it doesn’t mean anything!”

But as a Christian who had the privilege of attending a Jewish Shabbat service at Temple Emanuel in Pocatello this past November to commemorate the 11 people shot in the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, I wondered, “What could cause such hatred against a group of people for no other reason than that they believe something different?”

Doesn’t everyone have freedom of religion under the First Amendment of the Constitution?

This is one of the things that I believe makes our country great. Even this small Jewish Community in Pocatello spoke about receiving threats and being vandalized numerous times just for being Jewish. Antisemitism is still alive today and swastikas still represent a horrible part of both our world’s history as well as promote a mentality of hatred or at least bias against a group of people.

As a leader of the Idaho Falls Interfaith Community, I ask that we work together as a community to uphold the values that make our country so great. Let us be aware of the power of hatred no matter how small and let us shatter it with the light of remembrance, love, and respect for the other.

Pastor Regina Herman

Idaho Falls

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