Together Fighting Hatred and Intolerance

Together Fighting Hatred and Intolerance April 28, 2014

By Rabbi Dr. Bernhard H. Rosenberg

I am the son of Holocaust survivors. Most of my family perished in the Holocaust, either in the crematorium or shot dead on the street. I am still deeply disturbed by the tattooed number from Auschwitz on my father’s arm and remember my mother looking twice her age from her experience at the camp. Like many children of Holocaust survivors, I never had grandparents. I became a rabbi as a concept of never again. I vowed that I’d do everything in my power to stop evil and to make certain that people who are like the Nazis, demons that they are, would never succeed.

Before Easter a video called “That Jew Died for You” was released from the group Jews for Jesus. The video has garnered over a million views on YouTube and sparked some very hateful conversation. When I viewed the video, I recognized it as a movie of compassion. Indeed the said purpose of “That Jew Died for You” was to reshape views of Christ and His relationship to the Holocaust, presenting a positive image of hope and salvation instead of despair.

The video depicts a powerful scene set at the gates of the Auschwitz concentration camp as a line of Jews awaits their fate. The Nazi guards at the front of the line decide who will go to the work camp and who will go to the death chambers. Toward the end of the video, Jesus, carrying a cross, comes to the front of the line and is sent by the guards toward the death chambers. I am not a stranger to this subject having just authored a new book The Holocaust as Seen Through Film, one of the many books that I have written with a Holocaust theme.

I do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah but I do believe he was a Jew. I am completely non-judgmental with regards to anyone’s religious observances. I don’t judge anybody because I did not go into the clergy for religion’s sake. I went into clergy for humanity’s sake. There are not too many Holocaust survivors’ kids around that think the way I do.

I do not agree with those who are attacking the video showing Jesus carrying a cross and being sent to the showers from the gates to Auschwitz. If Jesus were at Auschwitz he would have been murdered just for being a Jew. If anything the attack on this video bolsters Jews for Jesus, which I’m sure was not the intent of those critics. I think that the purpose of the video was to show that indeed Jesus was a Jew; whether you accept him as the Messiah is up to you. LET ME STATE CLEARLY: I DO NOT ENDORSE JEWS FOR JESUS OR THEIR BELIEFS. But I think their intent was not to harm our Jewish people but to depict Jesus as the observant Jew he was. The historical Jesus was a devout Jew.

I witnessed Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ in Manhattan when it first came out and there was an uproar—there was a fear that it would create a lot of anti-Semitism because of the way that Jesus is persecuted and victimized. The fact is that Jesus, at least the spiritual Jesus, was supposed to die and be resurrected and that did happen in this film. It was not the Jews that killed Jesus; rather it was Pontius Pilate and the Romans. In fact, if you saw that picture, you would see that the Roman soldiers did the floggings. Many people do not understand history at all.

I have taught Holocaust studies for most of my life on the high school and college level. When I discuss the Holocaust and God, I share many possible views. In truth, after having written numerous books on the subject I don’t have an answer. I cannot in good conscience believe that the Jewish people were punished, because if I believe that, then I would not be a rabbi, and probably would be an atheist. One and a half million priceless Jewish children were murdered. What was their sin? The answer I give myself and others is that mankind caused the Holocaust, not God. It is the only answer I can live with.

I believe that it was the teachings of the Church, not Jesus, that allowed Hitler to spread his ideology of hatred for the Jews. I am happy that the teachings of the Church regarding the Jewish people have changed. A special thank-you to the Christians who support the state of Israel.

The bottom line is that Jesus’ message was not to hate the Jews, but to love all humanity, and he would certainly not say that one should hate his own people. Instead of hatred in the world, there should be love. And if that was the message Jesus communicated, then that was an outstanding message for all of mankind. During this period of Easter and Passover, as well as the remembrance of the Holocaust, may love conquer evil and may we together fight hatred and intolerance.


Rabbi Dr. Bernhard H. Rosenberg

Congregation Beth-El

Edison, New Jersey


Rabbi Rosenberg received his ordination and Doctorate of Education from Yeshiva University in New York. He also possesses A.A., B.A., M.A., and M.S. degrees in communication and education. Jewish Theological Seminary presented him with his DD in May 2010. He taught Holocaust and Genocide Studies graduate courses at Rutgers University, and currently teaches communications and public speaking at Middlesex College. Rabbi Rosenberg appears frequently on radio and TV and has published eight books and hundreds of articles about the Holocaust. His most recent book is The Holocaust as Seen in Film with Bibliography.



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11 responses to “Together Fighting Hatred and Intolerance”

  1. : Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau gave a powerful speech at the March of the Living
    There may be those who believe I am being used by Jews for Jesus or Christian groups by allowing by article to be published. My answer is simply I seek a world where I and my family, 4 children and so far 7 grandchildren can observe Torah and mitzvoth, the 5 books of Moses and the commandments. I seek a world where instead of fighting each other we can love and help each other. As an observant Jew I WILL LIVE AND DIE OBSERVING Jewish law and so will by children and grandchildren. The message of peace, shalom, is a message of comfort. That is my blessing for all of us. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

  2. THANK YOU. This video certainly has brought about a lively discussion. What is crucial is that people of all faiths join together to fight bigotry and hatred. RABBI DR. BERNHRD ROSENBERG

  3. I’m so glad that you have watched both the “Passion” & the Jews for Jesus video. If you are basing your opinion of the church on what you have seen historically, then you will only find error. There is a True Church, one that Jesus established in the New Testament. Jesus Himself said there is a “Narrow gate” by which to enter into a saving relationship with Him, which “few” enter into. In my experience of witnessing salvation in Jesus to my local Jewish community is that they have a flawed perception of Christianity – as I did before I came to saving faith in Christ. My prayer for you, Rabbi, is that you & your family would seek the Truth with open hearts. There are & historically have been True bible believing Christians out there who do support Jewish people & love them dearly, as I do. Sadly people do tend to look to mans failed attempts at religion & form an opinion of God that is simply not real. Jesus is stretching out His Hand of salvation to you, I implore you take His Hand & seek Him with all your heart. Shalom.

  4. Let Us Learn To Love Each Other: Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg

    Bernhard Rosenberg responds to the “Jews for Jesus” Easter Campaign

    you tube

  5. Bernhard Rosenberg
    CHRISTIANITY persecuted the Jews throughout the ages in the name of Jesus. The Jews were to be the wandering people with no land. This was the message of the Church. . Hitler FOLLOWED THE DICTATES of Martin Luther who truly hated the Jews. Jesus had nothing to do with this, but all was done in his name. Rabbi DR. BERNHARD Rosenberg

  6. Rabbi writes teachers’ guide to Shoa films

    April 8, 2014

    Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg, the son of Holocaust survivors and a longtime educator, has published a guide to assist teachers in conveying the horrors of the Shoa.

    The Holocaust as Seen Through Film will be available this month on and is available on-line here.

    The book is targeted for those teaching the Holocaust to high school seniors, college students, and graduate candidates. It consists of brief summaries of films and documentaries, plus discussion questions to guide viewers.

    The longtime religious leader at Congregation Beth-El in Edison and the township chaplain, Rosenberg formerly taught at Rutgers and Yeshiva universities and now at Middlesex County College in Edison. He was recently appointed to the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education.

    Rosenberg was born in a displaced persons’ camp in Regensburg, Germany, to Polish Holocaust survivor parents, who lost their entire families with the exception of one cousin.

    Rosenberg has written extensively about the Holocaust. One of his books, Theological and Halachic Reflections on the Holocaust, is now in its second printing.

    Rosenberg frequently appears on radio and television and has received many awards, including Chaplain of the Year, for his efforts following 9/11, and the Rabbi Israel Mowshowitz Award from the New York Board of Rabbis.

  7. Edison rabbi’s book examines Hollywood and the Holocaust
    Where’s the story?2 Points Mentioned
    Staff Writer
    Old photographs show Rabbi Bernhard H. Rosenberg as a baby, and his parents, Jacob and Rachel Rosenberg, both of whom were Holocaust survivors. EDISON — The power of the pen has proved critical to an Edison rabbi’s push to pass the lessons learned through the Holocaust to future generations.
    Rabbi Bernhard H. Rosenberg, the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth-El in Edison, has written several books on the subject. His latest endeavor, “The Holocaust as Seen Through Film,” is set to be published and available on in April.
    The book is a tool for educators to teach the horrors of the Holocaust to high school seniors, college students and graduate candidates, he said.
    “What I want the students to come away with is basically a lesson in what was done to humanity, what was done to the Jewish people and what lessons we should learn from the Holocaust to make the world better today,” Rosenberg said.
    Widely recognized films such as “Schindler’s List,” “Life is Beautiful,” and “The Pianist” are featured in Rosenberg’s book, along with lesser-known pieces like the documentary “Paper Clips,” he said.
    The rabbi compiled the selection not with critical acclaim in mind, but each title’s ability to call upon different themes associated with the catastrophic event orchestrated by Adolph Hitler in Nazi Germany, Rosenberg said.
    Questions for discussion and information on how to use the material in a classroom setting accompany each section of the book, he said.
    “I want the students to be involved,” said Rosenberg, who has several advanced degrees, including a doctorate in education, and has taught a Rutgers University class on the subject. “It’s not to just watch the movie and then not take away anything from it. The idea is to watch the movie, discuss the movie and, in some cases, there are papers written.”
    Rabbi Bernhard H. Rosenberg Rosenberg’s motivation to write the book came from a commitment to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, he said. He said he fears that a similar tragedy could grip Jewish people once more if it is lumped in with other genocides in the history books.
    That has inspired him to author a prayer book and a Passover Haggadah that focus on the Holocaust, too, he said.
    “The reason being that if you incorporate it into the ritual itself, the
    Holocaust memory will survive,”
    Rosenberg added.
    Aside from his devotion to the faith, Rosenberg has a deep connection to the Holocaust, which drives him to engrain its terrors into the public consciousness. Nazis imprisoned his father at the Auschwitz concentration camp, and his mother suffered through several labor camps and a concentration camp, Rosenberg said.
    The rabbi was born in a displaced-persons camp in Germany, he said.
    “I grew up in this. I saw the emotional turmoil in my own home and what the Holocaust did to my parents,” he said.
    If readers take anything from his work, it should be that evil continues to pervade the world, but regular people can stand up to those malicious forces.
    “We have to fight evil,” Rosenberg said. “We cannot stand idly by. We cannot be bystanders.”

  8. Baruch 2:1-2
    And the Lord fulfilled the warning he had uttered against us: against our judges, who governed Israel, against our kings and princes, and against the men of Israel and Juda. He brought down upon us evils so great that there has not been done anywhere under heaven what has been done in Jerusalem, as was written in the law of Moses…