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Archive for April 21st, 2020

Yom Hashoah - Community Synagogue of Rye

This day is for the remembering of the 6,000,000 Jews who were killed in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. Christians must remember.

During World War II, in the French mountains, the Huguenot town of Le Chambon lived the Gospel. This town of 5,000 Huguenots saved the lives of 5,000 Jewish children from genocide. Mr Pierre Sauvage filmed a documentary about the town of Le Chambon. Mr. Sauvage was born in the town and his life saved in Le Chambon. This clip from the documentary may have something to say to Christians in 21st Century America:

The question is asked, why did the holocaust happen? Related is the question, why did so few Christians try to stop it? But another question seldom asked, Why did many Christians risk their lives saving Jews? In an essay entitled, “Where are you, Adam?”, by Rabbi Marc Gellman,  among the many cogent Torah-centered observations, gives this as an answer to the last question I asked. It really gets down to it, will we obey God rather than men? (see Acts 5: 29)

In The Altruistic Personality, their book about Christians who saved Jews during the Holocaust, Samuel and Pearl Oliner asked what distinguished the rescuers from the majority who did nothing, or were complicit. Their conclusion was that they were not distinguished by educational level or by political views or even by attitudes towards Jews. They were, however, different in two critical respects: they were strongly connected to communities that had straightforward and unsophisticated understandings of right and wrong, and they had a powerful sense of moral agency and shame. They said over and over again in interviews that they could not have lived with themselves—and many said they could not have answered before God—if they had not done what they had done. The righteous gentiles of the Holocaust came from communities and families that had prepared the way for their courage by teaching them how to feel shame and therefore virtue and courage. In this country those same institutions are often preparing the way for moral relativism and cowardice by teaching that nobody really knows what is right and what is wrong, so what the hell.

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