What a blessing to reunite with dozens of like-minded friends who love Israel! I’m in Washington DC, joining a couple hundred fellow graduates of the Christian Friends of Yad Vashem Leadership Conference. Those Leadership Conferences, held at the Holocaust Museum and Research Center in Jerusalem, seek to bring together Christian leaders from around the world to study specifically about anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.
At last night’s reception, I counted at least 15 of my 27 classmates from 2015, and we had a great time catching up with one another. Most of us are actively involved one way or another in sharing the truth about anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. We were greeted by Dr Susanna Kokkonen (Director of Christian Friends of Yad Vashem) and welcomed by Shaya Ben Yahuda (Yad Vashem International Relations Director), both very dear friends of ours. We were also welcomed by Cary Summers from Museum of the Bible, a supporting partner in the Conferences, as well as these Reunion/Refresher events.
During the evening, we were reminded that anti-Semitism is on the rise and, though painted with a different brush, is still the same picture the world ignored prior to the Holocaust. After that, the world said, “Never again,” yet the BDS movement and Jewish hatred on college campuses (often sparked by radical Palestinian agendas) are rampant. Friends, as Christians we cannot be silent.
As the evening progressed, we were treated to a special live production of “Portrait of Courage: A Call to Action,” performed by volunteers of Operation Exodus. This was a depiction of what life was like in Jewish communities in Europe prior to the Holocaust, how covertly things changed, and the life-saving results of a few non-Jews who took action (sometimes at the risk of their own lives) to rescue Jews from the rampage of the Nazi killing machine. It was quite moving and very well done, and certainly served as a call for us not to be silent in the current state of affairs.
Operation Exodus is dedicated to fulfilling a mission the prophet Isaiah described this way:
Thus says the Lord God,
“Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations
And set up My standard to the peoples;
And they will bring your sons in their bosom,
And your daughters will be carried on their shoulders.
Indeed, God is calling the nations to bring His sons and daughters home. Yes, we have a responsibility in that! Given the current rise of anti-Semitism, there is a growing call for American Jews to return home. Most seem very happy and content in America (just as they were in Europe), but I wonder…will the same sudden destruction, brought about by American anti-Semitism, overtake them like a storm, as the German version in the 1930’s did? God forbid!
Those ignorant of past mistakes are bound to repeat them. Let’s not be part of that crowd.
At the end of the program we saw a short video about a group of young men who individually made aliyah (return to the homeland). More tomorrow, but I leave you with this: