When I was in 8th grade, my English class read the play The Diary of Ann Frank. The teacher assigned parts, and we read it out loud in class. I was honored to read the part of Ann. This was the first time I learned about the Holocaust. The story gripped my heart. Within the next year I read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. Throughout my teens and early adulthood I devoured everything I could to learn about what happened in Europe from 1933 through 1945. I was particularly struck by the accounts of non-Jews who opened their hearts and homes and hid Jewish people at the peril of their own lives. These heroes, the rescuers, are awarded the honor of being named as The Righteous Among The Nations, and it does my heart good to know that there were many who had the courage to stand in the face of evil and do the right thing.
In times of conflict, people find themselves cast in one of three roles: the perpetrator, the victim, or the bystander. Most of us like to think of ourselves as innocent bystanders; however, there really is no such part to play. Really, there are only two roles–perpetrator or victim. If you stay silent you empower the perpetrator.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
If I lived during the time of the Holocaust, what would I have done? I had a profound experience when I first asked myself that question. It was in the form of a prayer, “Lord, if the Holocaust were to happen now, do I have the courage and the strength of character…would I have hidden the Jews?” God spoke to me, and what He said shook me to the core. He said, “You’re Jewish. You would have to be hidden.” That never occurred to me. While I knew my father was Jewish, it was never part of my identity. In fact, per Nuremberg Code, all it took was for one grandparent to be Jewish for a person to be condemned. It did not matter whether that person worshiped in a synagogue, a church, or anywhere. If one grandparent was Jewish, that person is Jewish.
The fact of the matter is that this type of evil is operating in the world today. Many people groups are suffering. There are many accounts of heinous crimes against humanity all over the world. Right now attention is on France and the terror siege that gripped Paris and the surrounding area. How should I respond? What should I do?
I am not anyone important. I am a middle-aged working mother who lives in the heartland of the United States. Nonetheless, there are organizations I can align myself with. I can participate in social media. I can write a blog (thank you for reading this, by the way!). What I thought I should do is link to the various organizations I am aligned with, and tell their stories. In this small way I am standing with those who are suffering, and hope that someone will stand with me. Who will stand with me?
Vision for Israel (humanitarian aid)
International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (humanitarian aid)
Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (scholarly activities)
Knesset Christian Allies Caucus (government)
Caroline Glick (journalist)
Hope Positive Africa (empowering women)
…and there are many more organizations and individuals who are doing remarkable things to stand and ease the pain of those who are suffering. The needs are enormous, but any little bit we can do helps.