I RECENTLY attended two events on the same day and both of them delivered the same message.

One was a Holocaust Study Day at Menorah Synagogue and the other was the Alf Keeling Memorial Lecture held by Altrincham Interfaith Group.

In the first, Canon Albert Radcliffe, a regular at the Study Days, talked about “Individual Conscience versus the Totalitarian State.”

He described how those Germans who between them saved 3000 Jewish lives took risks and had to be courageous people. Many of them were older Germans - clergy, teachers, doctors etc. But most of these brave people had one thing in common, they had formed personal bonds with Jews. It seems that all it needed was a personal connection with the victim.

And in the Alf Keeling Lecture, Anjum Anwar, MBE, spoke about her time as Dialogue Officer in Blackburn Cathedral and stressed the importance of having a conversation with “the other.” Talk, ask questions. Difficult questions, if need be. Form bonds. Break down the barriers - share a cup of tea with a neighbour of a different faith. We are all people, all human beings, and the same under the skin.

I found both these addresses very inspiring. In Altrincham Interfaith Group we have Friendship Circles where people of different faiths meet to chat and ask questions in each other’s houses.

This is the right way forward, this removes fear of 'the other' and in this world of fear and suspicion it can only do good.

Carolyn Jones

(Hon. Sec., Altrincham Interfaith Group and member of Dunham Road Unitarian Chapel)