The desecration of a Jewish cemetery in Manchester comes amid rising anti-Semitism in the UK, particularly over controversial remarks from leading Labour politicians.
Fourteen headstones have been destroyed by vandals at the Blackley Jewish Cemetery in the city’s north-east district.
Police described it as “a deliberate and targeted attack”, although no anti-Semitic graffiti was found, and have vowed to do everything in their power to track down those responsible.
In a cemetery in Leeds, just across the Pennines from Manchester, is the tomb of Dr M L Rossvally, who died in 1892. He was a remarkable Jewish man who ended his days in the northern city as an evangelist to his fellow Jews. While a surgeon in the US Army during the American Civil War, he tended to the shocking wounds of a drummer boy called Charlie Coulson.
Charlie was ultimately beyond saving, but used his remaining breath to plead with the doctor that he needed no pain-killing brandy, for he was at peace with his Saviour and longed to be with Him! The surgeon never forgot the young man’s faith and courage, eventually putting his own trust in Jesus (Yeshua) as his Messiah – and spent the rest of his days sharing his great discovery with his own people.
On my recent holiday in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales – not far from Leeds – the Lord spoke to me through the wonder of nature and of his creation. While out on a run, the only sound that broke the silence was the bleating of sheep and their young lambs enjoying the rich pasture of these grassy slopes. It was all so perfectly peaceful and reminded me of the spotless Lamb of God, who also brought peace to the world. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, was led like a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53.7) as he brought us both peace and pardon. He is, after all, the prophesied ‘Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9.6) who bore our sins through his death on the cross (1 Peter 2.24 & Isaiah 53. 4, 5 & 12).
We are told that when Jesus came into Jerusalem for the Passover, which was to be his last, the lambs were being gathered in at the same time in preparation for the feast. But they first had to pass the test as to whether they were flawless.
And so when Jesus too had passed the test and was found to be sinless – “he committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2.22, quoting Isaiah 53.9) – he became our Passover Lamb!
True freedom from the world’s hatred and spite can be found only in the loving arms of the Jewish Messiah, who clears a path through a sea of trouble for all who follow him.
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com