July 10, 2018
I’m pretty sure that my childhood bedtime stories were quite different from yours. I grew up hearing stories from my grandfather about how he survived the Holocaust. He would tell me about his family’s terrifying escape from Germany, how at times they were barely half a mile ahead of the Nazis, and how they were saved by miracles. My grandfather’s entire extended family was murdered at the hands of the Nazis. By the grace of God, my grandfather’s immediate family was spared.
In contrast to these “bedtime stories,” I was blessed to live the American dream in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I grew up with freedom and without fear. I could practice my faith in public and we didn’t have to worry when we walked the streets with my father proudly wearing his kippah (yarmulke). We could light our Hanukkah menorah in front of our window for all to see, and we could blast the shofar (trumpet) on Rosh Hashanah for all to hear.
I was lucky to live in a land that cherishes freedom, especially religious freedom. That is something none of us should ever take for granted.
Over the last few years, I started hearing and reading about Christian persecution. Right now, Christians are the most persecuted minority in the world. Like most people, when I first heard the horrific and tragic stories, I would shake my head, say a prayer, and move on. I truly felt that there was nothing else I could do to help.
But then I discovered there is something we can do.
It came to our attention here at The Fellowship that there are persecuted Christians right next door to Israel. There are Coptic Christians who have been persecuted for centuries in Egypt. There are Christians who have fled persecution in Iraq and are currently staying in Jordan. Both Egypt and Jordan are on Israel’s borders.
My father and I realized that we can, and we must, reach our brothers and sisters in need and help them on behalf of The Fellowship. Living in Israel, we are uniquely poised to provide life-saving aid. Praise God, with the support of Christians and Jews around the world, united in the work of The Fellowship, we have.
I shudder when I hear the personal stories and see the scars of the people we are helping. There is a holocaust taking place, focused on exterminating Christians in the Middle East. As Jews, we look back at the Holocaust that was designed to wipe out our people and we ask: “Where was the world when our people were being slaughtered?” Today I ask, “Where is the world now as innocent Christians are being tortured and murdered?”
Although I live in Israel now, I still celebrate the 4th of July. Last week as we celebrated America, I praised God for the freedom I had growing up and that many of my friends and family still enjoy in the U.S.
I appreciate that freedom even more so now that I have seen firsthand what happens when nations do not extend freedom to all. And, as the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, I have learned never to take that freedom for granted.
It is the birthright of every human being to live in safety and to practice their faith without fear. It falls to us, who have that freedom, to help those who don’t. Leviticus 19:16 (NLT) cautions us: “Do not stand idly by when your neighbor's life is threatened.”
I certainly won’t.