Monday, April 12, 2010

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (courtesy of JPost, GPO)

JERUSALEM — Israel used the solemn occasion of Monday's annual Holocaust memorial day to call on the world to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and to draw new attention to the plight of the dwindling number of survivors.

The wail of air raid sirens pierced the air for two minutes as the country came to a standstill in a yearly ritual remembering the 6 million Jews who perished in World War II. People stood at attention and traffic halted during the moment of silence, as radio stations played mournful music throughout the day.

Israel was built on the ashes of the Holocaust, and preserving the memory of the Nazi genocide plays a central role in the country's identity… "If we have learned anything from the Holocaust, it is that we must not be silent or be deterred in the face of evil," Netanyahu said. (On Holocaust day, Israel warns of Iranian threat, By AMY TEIBEL AP)

Yes, today was the Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel. Flags waved at half mast as many other flags waved from cars, businesses and homes.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Yesterday, the girls and I attended an Arab Christian church in Old City in the morning and a Messianic congregation in the evening. As I sat in both services on the eve of the Holocaust Memorial Day, I was overwhelmed with emotion as I got to witness people from 2 different races who are not known for their love or worship of Yeshua the Messiah. Both know of the man Jesus but as I have come to learn, they don’t know much of Who Jesus is or says He is. You might be surprised to learn that some Jews don’t even know that Jesus was Jewish--a Hebrew just like them. The Messianic Jews that I have read about said that passages from the OT that point to Jesus Christ as Messiah was not even a part of their reading each year growing up in their Jewish homes. All the stories I read, say they approached the New Testament with caution. What they discovered was that this man Jesus, Yeshua, fits perfectly in the prophetic scriptures of their own Hebrew Bible.

The Arabs have 2 different stories, that I have discovered anyway. Some are Arab Catholics that have roots dating all the way back to when the disciples started sharing the gospel with the gentiles which you can read about in the book of Acts in the New Testament. Others have more dramatic and more dangerous stories. When the Arab Muslims come to know Jesus as their Messiah, many live double lives—worshiping Jesus their Lord privately. Others have to just leave their families to save themselves from death. In Jerusalem, you have all of the above. Not too long ago, when Celine and I were doing work with an Arab outreach group, they told me that 25% of Muslims that come to know Jesus as their Messiah received visions ahead of time of the person that would actually tell them about Jesus.

Last night as I sat in the Messianic church singing, I was moved by the reaction people would have when they sang of Jesus being their Lord, or He had risen and conquered death. They actually cheered! Yes, they hooped and hollered.

During the service, one of the speakers spoke of how people are attracted to strong people, people we can lean on, people we can draw from but God is attracted to the needy, the weak, the humble (Isaiah 57). Who is more needy than a people who have been persecuted all around the world dating all the way back to their slavery in Egypt, the Jews.

As stated by the A.P. above, “Israel was built on the ashes of the Holocaust.” They stop every year on April 12th to remember those they lost and those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis. They also have left bullet holes from their own guns at the Zion Gate to serve as a reminder of what it took in 1948 to get their city back.

The Jews are as different from one another as anyone can be from “Ultra-Ultra Orthodox” to “secular” but they are united under one cause.


Monday, April 12th, 2010

This morning as I was trying to figure out why my wireless internet wasn’t working (I didn’t have Eric here to fix it for me, he is in Jordan), I was alarmed to hear the sirens outside. Now, we have heard helicopters, jets, police sirens, police loudspeakers and all varieties of parties outside because of the President living across the street but this was a first! The sirens were loud, ominous, scary and lasted 2 minutes. I seriously thought we were being bombed. I ran outside thinking that the President’s guards would be able to help me. He was relieved to tell me that it was the siren for the country to stop and remember the Holocaust.


During a two-minute silence across the Jewish state for Holocaust Remembrance Day, pedestrians stopped in their tracks, some with their heads bowed, and road traffic came to a halt.
Photo: Jack Guez in Tel Aviv, AFP Copyright 2009
European Jewish Press

Later today, when talking to my friend Libby, she said that she, her kids and Celine (Celine spent the night with them) were out playing when the whole city just stopped. Libby said it was like the Twilight Zone. She said people were stopped in the middle of the street while crossing, cars were stopped in the roads with drivers standing outside their cars and soldiers were standing at attention. She approached a gentleman that had his head down and asked, “What is going on?” He solemnly responded, “We are remembering.” She instantly knew he meant the Holocaust. What I would have given to have seen what she saw.

An Israeli woman pauses during a two-minute siren in memory of victims of the Holocaust in the market in Jerusalem
YouTube video on the streets and cars stopping. Celine was outside during this and she said, “It was like time had frozen.”


So now the day has ended, tomorrow the flags will return to full mast but the Israelis will not forget. Not this time.

Praying for Peace in Jerusalem! La Chaim!


Nanny said...

Yes, Colleen, Fox News broadcasted that all day long. I kept watching, hoping to see you on the streets of Jeruselem. What an emotional experience for you to see it firsthand!

Remember when I went to Dachou concentration camp in Germany? Seeing that was an emotional, life-changing experience!!! Life there was so painful, that dying in the gas chambers was the "good news" for the Jews and others that the Germans had tortured so cruelly.

Is this Day of the Holocaust remembered every year in Israel?

Did you get my comment about riding a camel???

Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Nice blog

Kathleen said...

That was powerful. I'm not sure how I feel about the Arabs that refused to stop and at least respect the sentiment of the country they are in...

BTW, a lady from Israel who has a girl Copeland's age with TCS just contacted me via Facebook. She lives in Modi'in, about a half an hour away from Jerusalem, she said. Her name is Yael Schindler....just in case ;)