12 October 1891 Birth of Edith Stein, Saint St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross #otdimjh

 

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David Novak, a Conservative Jewish Rabbi and theologian, says of Edith Stein:

Jews have been able to dismiss most modern Jewish converts to Christianity as people motivated by social or professional ambition, self-hatred, ignorance, or mental imbalance. But anyone who knew Edith Stein or who knows anything about her life would have to admit that none of these categories applies to her. Indeed, Edith Stein comes across as sui generis. She might be the most uniquely problematic Jew for us since Saul of Tarsus.”

He continues, asserting the common dichotomy also shared by many Christians and which the Messianic Jewish community now challenges,

“Edith Stein represents our impasse. She cannot be a bridge between Jews and Catholics because in this world one cannot be simultaneously both a faithful Jew and a faithful Catholic. Since the Jewish and Catholic communities are mutually exclusive, and both Jews and Catholics derive their identities from God’s covenant with their communities, no member of one community can also be a member in good standing of the other.” in Snyder, From Jerusalem to Jerusalem86-87.

From Wikipedia:

Edith Stein, religious name Teresa Benedicta a Cruce OCD, also known as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross; 12 October 1891 – 9 August 1942), was a German Jewish philosopher who converted to Roman Catholicism and became a Discalced Carmelite nun. She is canonized as a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church.

She was born into an observant Jewish family, but was an atheist by her teenage years. Moved by the tragedies of World War I, in 1915 she took lessons to become a nursing assistant and worked in an infectious diseases hospital. After completing her doctoral thesis from the University of Göttingenin 1916, she obtained an assistantship at the University of Freiburg.

From reading the works of the reformer of the Carmelite OrderTeresa of Ávila, she was drawn to the Catholic faith. She was baptized on 1 January 1922 into the Roman Catholic Church. At that point, she wanted to become a Discalced Carmelite nun, but was dissuaded by her spiritual mentors. She then taught at a Catholic school of education in Speyer. As a result of the requirement of an “Aryan certificate” for civil servants promulgated by the Nazi government in April 1933 as part of its Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, she had to quit her teaching position.

She was admitted to the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Cologne the following October. She received the religious habit of the Order as a novicein April 1934, taking the religious nameTeresa Benedicta of the Cross. In 1938, she and her sister Rosa, by then also a convert and an extern sister (tertiaries of the Order, who would handle the community′s needs outside the monastery), were sent to the Carmelite monastery in EchtNetherlands for their safety. Despite the Nazi invasion of that state in 1940, they remained undisturbed until they were arrested by the Nazis on 2 August 1942 and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where they died in the gas chamber on 9 August 1942.

A recent biography:

Edith Stein: The Life and Legacy of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross Paperback – 

  • Paperback: 221 pages
  • Publisher: Sophia Institute Press (27 July 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1622824644
  • ISBN-13: 978-1622824649

From the Inside Flap

“In the wake of World War I when neither Jews nor women were widely accepted in academia, Edith Stein rose to prominence as a leading philosopher who thrived in the intellectual community in Germany. She shocked both her Jewish family and her academic friends when she fell in love with Jesus Christ and became a Roman Catholic

More shocking still, eleven years later, Edith entered the cloistered Carmelite order to follow a life of mystic and contemplative prayer, changing her name to Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Edith Stein’s surrender to grace is all the more visible because of the dark night that enveloped the period of history in which she lived and died when millions of men and women, including Edith Stein herself, were systematically murdered by the Nazi regime in the name of diligent ethnic cleansing.

Today, as the meaning of feminism is lost in a world of relativism, Edith Stein provides a model for a true feminist woman who authentically integrates faith, family, and work. Award-winning journalist Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda brings new light to this complex woman, her culture, and the pivotal period of history in which she lived and died.

More than a biography, these pages paint a multifaceted portrait of Edith Stein as seen by scholars, friends, and relatives and by Catholics and Jews alike. You’ll gain new insights into the complex aspects of her life and death, as well as the impact of her character and personality on those who knew her. But most of all, you will enter into the interior life of this woman of Jewish descent who transformed her entire life because of her encounter with Jesus Christ, an encounter that led her from the depths of atheism to the heights of sainthood.”

Richard Harvey writes:

Messianic Jews have much to learn from Stein’s life, learning, legacy and loss. See here for papers on her by Jewish believers in Yeshua:

Rich Nichol

Antoine Levy, OP

Mark Kinzer

Chronology of Stein’s writings: http://www.husserlpage.com/hus_r2st.html

Father David Neuhaus, Latin Patriarchal Vicar, responsible for the Saint James Vicariate for Hebrew Speaking Catholics in Israel, has published a pastoral letter on the occasion of the 60th anniversary since the founding of the Work of Saint James. The letter was published on the Feast of Edith Stein, August 9, 2015.

Read here

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23 March 1831 Death of Hebrew Scholar Giovanni De Rossi #otdimjh

23 March 1831 Death of Christian Hebraist, Giovanni Bernardo De Rossi #otdimjh

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Jews, Christians and Messianic Jews owe a profound debt of gratitiude to the life and scholarship of this great student of Hebrew.

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Giovanni Bernardo De Rossi (October 25, 1742, Castelnuovo Nigra, Piedmont – March 23, 1831, Parma) was an Italian Christian Hebraist. He studied in Ivrea and Turin. In October 1769, he was appointed professor of Oriental languages at the University of Parma, where he spent the rest of his life. His inaugural lecture on the causes of the neglect of Hebrew study was published in 1769 at Turin.

Bibliotheca-Judaica-Antichristiana-Qua-Editi-Et-Inediti-Judaeorum-Adversus-Christianam-Religionem-Libri-Recensentur-Paperback-P9781108053709

De Rossi devoted himself to three chief lines of investigation – typographical, bibliographical, and text-critical. Influenced by the example of Benjamin Kennicott, he determined on the collection of the variant readings of the Old Testament, and for that purpose collected a large number of manuscripts and old editions.

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In order to determine their bibliographical position he undertook a critical study of the annals of Hebrew typography, beginning with a special preliminary disquisition in 1776, and dealing with the presses of Ferrara (Parma, 1780), Sabbionetta (Erlangen, 1783), and, later, Cremona (Parma, 1808), as preparatory to his two great works, Annales Hebræo-Typographici (Parma, 1795, sec. xv.) and Annales Hebræo-Typographici ab 1501 ad 1540(Parma, 1799). This formed the foundation of his serious study of the early history of Hebrew printing.

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In connection with this work he drew up a Dizionario Storico degli Autori Ebrei e delle loro Opere (Parma, 1802; German translation by Hamberger, Leipzig, 1839), in which he summed up in alphabetical order the bibliographical notices contained in Wolf, and, among other things, fixed the year of Rashi’s birth; he also published a catalogue of his own manuscripts (1803) and books (1812). All these studies were in a measure preparatory and subsidiary to his Variæ Lectiones Veteris Testamenti (Parma, 1784–88), still the most complete collection of variants of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament. In order to compile it he visited all the chief libraries of Italy, and through its compilation he obtained the knighthood of St. George at the court of Parma and seductive offers from Pavia, Madrid, and Rome. As examples of the use of his work he issued a specimen of theTargum on Esther (Rome, 1782; 2d ed., revised, Tübingen, 1783).

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He was also interested in the polemics of Judaism and Christianity, and wrote on this subject his Della Vana Aspettazione degli Ebrei del loro Re Messia (Parma, 1773), which he defended in a pamphlet two years later; he further published a list of anti-Christian writers, Bibliotheca Judaica Antichristiana (Parma, 1800).

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A select Hebrew lexicon, in which he utilized Parḥon’s work (Parma, 1805), and an introduction to Hebrew (ib. 1815) conclude the list of those of his works which are of special Jewish interest. Rossi died in Parma in 1831.

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His work was used by all later scholars of the Hebrew texts, sometimes without acknoweledgment, but his work has stood the test of time, and its monumental contribution to scholarship has left a lasting legacy.

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Prayer: Thank you, Lord for the literature of the Hebrew language, and those scholars, Jewish and Christian, who have devoted themselves to its study and elucidation. May we too have a similar respect, academic integrity and quality of scholarship when studying the Scriptures as did De Rossi. Help us to bridge the gap between Jewish and Christian understanding, especially as Messianic Jews develop a post-supersessionist exegesis, hermeneutics and theological understanding that grasps the mystery of the Church and Israel, and the place of your Son the Messiah Yeshua. In his name we pray. Amen.

http://books.google.co.cr/books/about/Della_vana_aspettazione_degli_Ebrei_del.html?id=w3asy4BLqZgC

https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=w3asy4BLqZgC&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&hl=en_GB&pg=GBS.PA230

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Bernardo_De_Rossi

  • De praecipuis caussis, et momentis neglectae a nonnullis Hebraicarum litterarum disciplinae disquisitio elenchtica, Augustae Taurinorum : ex Tipographia Regia, 1769 (on-line)
  • Della vana aspettazione degli ebrei del loro re Messia dal compimento di tutte le epoche trattato del teol. Giambern. De-Rossi, Parma : dalla Stamperia reale, 1773; Roma : Marini e Co., 1840 (on-line)
  • Epithalamia exoticis linguis reddita, Parmae : ex regio typographeo, 1775
  • De hebraicae typographiae originae ac primitiis, seu antiquis ac rarissimis hebraicorum librorum editionibus saeculi 15. disquisitio historico-critica, Parmae : ex Regio typographeo, 1776 (on-line)
  • Specimen variarum lectionum sacri textus et chaldaica estheris additamenta cum Latina versione ac notis ex singulari codice privatae bibliothecae Pii VI P. O. M. edidit variisque dissertationibus illustravit Iohannes Bernardus De Rossi, Accedit eiusdem auctoris appendix de celeberr. codice tritaplo samaritano bibliothecae Barberinae, Romae : sumptibus Venantii Monaldini Bibliopolae, 1782 (on-line)
  • Bernhard De Rossi, Annales typographiae ebraicae Sabionetenses appendice aucti. Ex Italicis Latinos fecit m. Io. Frid. Roos, collega, Erlangae : sumtibus Io. Iac. Palm., 1783 (on-line)
  • Variae lectiones Veteris Testamenti ex immensa mss. editorumq. codicum congerie haustae et ad Samar. textum, ad vetustiss. versiones, ad accuratiores sacrae criticae fontes ac leges examinatae opera ac studio Johannis Bern. De-Rossi. Prolegomena, clavis codicum, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Parmae : ex regio typographeo, 1784 (on-line)
  • Annales Hebraeo-typographici sec. 15. descripsit fusoque commentario illustravit Joh. Bernardus De-Rossi, Parmae : ex Regio Typographeo, 1795 (on-line)
  • Bernardi De-Rossi Scholia critica in V. T. libros seu Supplementa ad varias sacri textus lectiones, Parmae : ex regio typographeo, 1798 (on-line)
  • Annales hebraeo-typographici ab an. MDI ad MDXL digessit notisque hist.-criticis instruxit Joh. Bernardus De-Rossi, Parmae : ex Regio tipographeo, 1799 (on-line)
  • Dizionario storico degli autori ebrei e delle loro opere, Parma : dalla Stamperia Imperiale, 1802 (Volume I, on-line) e (Volume II, on-line)
  • Dizionario storico degli autori arabi più celebri e delle principali loro opere, Parma : dalla Stamperia Imperiale, 1808 (on-line)
  • codices Hebraici biblioth. I. B. De-Rossi ling. Orient. prof. accurate ab eodem descripti et illustrati. Accedit appendix qua continentur mss. codices reliqui al. linguarum, Parma : dalla Stamperia Imperiale, 1803 (Volume I, on-line) (Volume II, on-line) (Volume III, on-line)
  • Annali ebreo-tipografici di Cremona distesi dal dottore G. Bernardo De Rossi prof. di lingue orientali, Parma : dalla Stamperia Imperiale, 1808 (on-line)
  • Il libro di Giobbe tradotto dal testo originale dal dottore G. Bernardo De-Rossi, Parma : dalla Stamperia reale, 1812 (on-line)
  • Introduzione allo studio della lingua ebrea, dell’importanza di questo studio, e della maniera di ben instituirlo, del cavaliere G. Bernardo De-Rossi preside della facoltà di teologia e professore di lingue orientali, Parma : dalla stamperia Blanchon, 1815 (on-line)
  • Introduzione alla Sacra Scrittura che comprende le prenozioni più importanti relative ai testi originali e alle loro versioni del professore G. Bernardo De-Rossi preside della facoltà teologica, Parma : dalla stamperia ducale, 1817 (on-line)
  • Sinopsi della ermeneutica sacra o dell’arte di ben interpretare la Sacra Scrittura del professore G. Bernardo De-Rossi preside della facoltà teologica e riformatore nel magistrato supremo dell’università, Parma : dalla stamperia ducale, 1819 (on-line)
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Why did the Chicken cross the road? –Messianic Jewish Purim Version

Arnold Fruchtenbaum – The crossing of the road by the chicken is a direct fulfillment of Messianic prophecy, as discussed in the rabbinic tractate Darkei Ha’Of (העוף דרכי) and in my book “Chickenology: The Missing Link in Systematic Gastronomy”. The chicken is on the way to gather her chicks under her wings and present them as offerings in the millennial temple. We read in Matthew 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killed the prophets, and stoned them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.” Only when the millennial temple has been built can the chicken and her chicks be offered again as sacrifices, and the chicken crosses the road to present herself as offering.

Baruch Maoz – The chicken’s crossing is a useful and interesting illustration of the relationship between predestination and freewill in the sovereign purposes of God. The chicken exercises its freewill, previously bound in sin, to cross the road. But when by faith it reaches the other side, it realizes that it had no choice to do otherwise, being specially chosen and elect before the foundation of the world to cross that particular road at that particular time. To ask “why?” is to fail to appreciate the mysteries of divine providence and election, but is all we mere mortals are capable of.

Bob Dylan – How many roads must a chicken cross
Before he knows he’s a bird?

Daniel Juster – We are seeing the restoration of chickenhood as one of the apostolic ministries of the Body of Messiah. This is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy, according to a historic premillennial interpretation. Despite the chicken’s enemies opposing its return to and settlement in the other side of the road, the prophetic program for the chicken in exile is its return both physically and spiritually to its ancestral home.

Darryl Bock – Like the recent choice between two equally problematic presidential candidates, the chicken faces a real dilemma, whichever side of the road he chooses. The choice he has before him is no real option. It is like choosing between facing a tornado rolling through his chicken coop or a hurricane. Both will do real damage in different ways. The chicken should be prepared for that, to face it with grace not an eye for an eye. The chicken must show its values are distinct from the way others behave. The chicken is called to be different.

David Brickner – The chicken exists to make the “road less crossed” an unavoidable issue for all chickens everywhere. There’s no other way to get to the other side except through the cross of the road. Download our free booklet “One Chicken for the Road” at www.chickensforroad.org.

David Rudolph – My passion as a professor and rabbi is to encourage chickens by introducing them to scholarship and other resources that help them along in their walk across the road. According to a recent Flew survey, 34% of chickens say crossing the road is compatible with being a chicken. Whilst most chickens cross the road on the thirteenth of Adar, chickens in rural areas observe the fourteenth of the month of Adar as a day for crossing the road.

Lisa Loden – The two sides of the road are locked in long-term, intractable and violent conflict. The chicken must step beyond the confines of its own side, cross the road and learn the other side’s narrative. Only then can the chicken build a bridging narrative across the road in a way that includes justice, peace and reconciliation for all chickens , whichever side of the road they inhabit.

Mark Kinzer – The chicken is permitted under the dietary standards proposed by the Messianic Jewish Ornithological Institute, but has to be suitably ‘crossed over’ by a certified rabbinic authority. We follow the Conservative guidelines on cross-over chickens, and see this crossing not as a replacement of one side of the road by the other, as both sides of the road as necessary for a bi-lateral chicken community.

Melissa Moskowitz – The chicken tastes much better when it has crossed the road – here is my Yiddish Mama’s recipe for chicken schnitzel.

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved and beaten flat (four pieces)
½ cup flour
2 beaten eggs
½ cup Panko crumbs
Pinch cayenne powder
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt, pepper to taste
Oil for frying
1 whole lemon cut into four wedges.

Directions

Put flour in a shallow bowl, and put eggs in shallow bowl and beat. Mix bread crumbs and spices in a third bowl. Dip chicken in flour, shake off extra. Dip in eggs and then in crumbs and spices. Heat oil in large heavy skillet over medium heat. Fry chicken on both sides for 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Serve with lemon wedges for garnish. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Monique Brumbach – Each of us has many roads to cross, and this one particular crossing for this particular bird marks a historic moment for the Union of Messianic Jewish Chickens as it breaks the egg and a new breed of chicken crosses over to the side of the road it has not been permitted access to previously.

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28 August 1899 Stalin’s pianist #otdimjh

28 August 1899 Birth of Maria Yudina, pianist and theologian who challenged Stalin #otdimjh

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Maria (Mariya) Veniaminovna Yudina (Мари́я Вениами́новна Ю́дина, Mariya Veniaminovna Yudina; September 9 [Old Style: August 28], 1899 – November 19, 1970) was an influential Soviet pianist.

from  “Maria Yudina: The Pianist Who Moved Stalin” from The Ladder of the Beatitudes by Jim Forest:

One of the people of modern times whose heart was radiantly pure was the Russian pianist Maria Yudina. I have come to know her indirectly through the memoirs of her friend and one-time classmate, composer Dimitri Shostakovich, and also through Tatiana Voogd, a member of our parish who knew Yudina personally and has slept under her piano—“the most sheltered place in her apartment,” she tells me.

It was Maria Yudina’s fate to live through the Russian revolution and its aftermath, seeing many of her dearest friends and colleagues disappear into the Gulag. A fearless Christian, she wore a cross visibly even while teaching or performing in public—an affirmation of belief at a time when the price of a display of religious faith could be one’s work, one’s freedom, even one’s life. She lived an ascetic life, wearing no cosmetics, spending little on herself, and dressing simply. “I had the impression that Yudina wore the same black dress during her entire long life, it was so worn and soiled,” said Shostakovich.

For Maria Yudina, music was a way of proclaiming her faith in a period when presses were more carefully policed than pianos. “Yudina saw music in a mystical light. For instance, she saw Bach’sGoldberg Variations as a series of illustrations to the Holy Bible,” said Shostakovich. “She always played as though she were giving a sermon.”

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She not only performed piano works but paused during concerts to read the poetry of such writers as Boris Pasternak, who were unable to publish at the time.

She was notorious among friends for her inability to keep anything of value for herself. “She came to see me once,” Shostakovich recalled, “and said that she was living in a miserable little room where she could neither work nor rest. So I signed a petition, I went to see various bureaucrats, I asked a lot of people to help, I took up a lot of people’s time. With great difficulty we got an apartment for Yudina. You would think that everything was fine and that life could go on. A short time later she came to me again and asked for help in obtaining an apartment for herself. ‘What? But we got an apartment for you. What do you need another one for?’ ‘I gave the apartment away to a poor old woman.’”

Shostakovich heard that friends had made a loan to Yudina of five rubles. “I broke a window in my room, it’s drafty and so cold, I can’t live like that,” she had told them. “Naturally, they gave her the money—it was winter. A while later they visited her, and it was as cold in her room as it was outside and the broken window was stuffed with a rag. ‘How can this be, Maria Veniaminovna? We gave you money to fix the window.’ And she replied, ‘I gave it for the needs of the church.’”

Shostakovich, who regarded religion as superstition, didn’t approve. “The church may have various needs,” he protested, “but the clergy doesn’t sit around in the cold, after all, with broken windows. Self-denial should have a rational limit.” He accused her of behaving like a yurodivye, the Russian word for a holy fool, a form of sanctity in the eyes of the church.

Her public profession of faith was not without cost. Despite her genius as a musician, from time to time she was banned from concert halls and not once in her life was she allowed to travel outside Russia. Shostakovich remembered:

Her religious position was under constant artillery and even cavalry attack [at the music school in Leningrad]. Serebriakov, the director then, had a habit of making so-called “raids of the light brigade.” . . . He realized that Yudina was a first-class pianist, but he wasn’t willing to risk his own position. One of the charges of the light brigade was made specifically against her. The cavalry rushed into Yudina’s class and demanded of Yudina: “Do you believe in God?” She replied in the affirmative. “Was she promoting religious propaganda among her students?” She replied that the Constitution didn’t forbid it. A few days later a transcript of the conversation made by “an unknown person” appeared in a Leningrad paper, which also printed a caricature—Yudina in nun’s robes surrounded by kneeling students. And the caption was something about preachers appearing at the Conservatoire. The cavalry trod heavily, even though it was the light brigade. Naturally, Yudina was dismissed after that.

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From time to time she all but signed her own death warrant. Perhaps the most remarkable story in Shostakovich’s memoir concerns one such incident:

In his final years, Stalin seemed more and more like a madman, and I think his superstition grew. The “Leader and Teacher” sat locked up in one of his many dachas, amusing himself in bizarre ways. They say he cut out pictures and photos from old magazines and newspapers, glued them onto paper, and hung them on the walls. . . . [He] didn’t let anyone in to see him for days at a time. He listened to the radio a lot. Once Stalin called the Radio Committee, where the administration was, and asked if they had a record of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, which had been heard on the radio the day before. “Played by Yudina,” he added. They told Stalin that of course they had it. Actually, there was no record, the concert had been live. But they were afraid to say no to Stalin, no one ever knew what the consequences might be. A human life meant nothing to him. All you could do was agree, submit, be a yes-man, a yes-man to a madman.

Stalin demanded that they send the record with Yudina’s performance of the Mozart to his dacha. The committee panicked, but they had to do something. They called in Yudina and an orchestra and recorded that night. Everyone was shaking with fright, except for Yudina, naturally. But she was a special case, that one, the ocean was only knee-deep for her.

Yudina later told me that they had to send the conductor home, he was so scared he couldn’t think. They called another conductor, who trembled and got everything mixed up, confusing the orchestra. Only a third conductor was in any shape to finish the recording.

I think this is a unique event in the history of recording—I mean, changing conductors three times in one night. Anyway, the record was ready by morning. They made one single copy in record time and sent it to Stalin. Now that was a record. A record in yes-ing.

Soon after, Yudina received an envelope with twenty thousand rubles. She was told it came on the express orders of Stalin. Then she wrote him a letter. I know about this letter from her, and I know that the story seems improbable. Yudina had many quirks, but I can say this—she never lied. I’m certain that her story is true. Yudina wrote something like this in her letter: “I thank you, Joseph Vissarionovich, for your aid. I will pray for you day and night and ask the Lord to forgive your great sins before the people and the country. The Lord is merciful and He’ll forgive you. I gave the money to the church that I attend.”

And Yudina sent this suicidal letter to Stalin. He read it and didn’t say a word, they expected at least a twitch of the eyebrow. Naturally, the order to arrest Yudina was prepared and the slightest grimace would have been enough to wipe away the last traces of her. But Stalin was silent and set the letter aside in silence. The anticipated movement of the eyebrows didn’t come.

Nothing happened to Yudina. They say that her recording of the Mozart was on the record player when the “Leader and Teacher” was found dead in his dacha. It was the last thing he had listened to.

Shostakovich found Yudina’s open display of belief foolish, yet one senses within his complaints both envy and awe. In a time of heart-stopping fear, here was someone as fearless as Saint George before the dragon, someone who preferred giving away her few rubles to repairing her own broken window, who “published” with her own voice the poems of banned writers, who dared to tell Stalin that he was not beyond God’s mercy and forgiveness. She had a large and pure heart. No wonder her grave in Moscow has been a place of pilgrimage ever since her death.

You may listen to this particular recording of Mozart’s Concerto No. 23 in A Major from A.D. 1943:

Allegro
II Adagio
III Allegro assai

Jewish Christian women named Mary have a peculiar habit of boldness before tyrants. Perhaps, Maria’s love and courage may have even persuaded old Joe to repent before the end. May her memory be eternal!

Prayer: Thank you Lord for this fascinating and amazing woman – may her gifts and memory be a blessing to all.

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Maria Yudina (Piano)

During the years 1921/22 Maria Yudina attended lectures at the historical-philological department of Petrograd University and, as a result, completed studies in theology after she had already converted to the Russian-Orthodox faith in 1919. The choice of this denomination had ripened within Maria Yudina for a long time: despite the attractions of Catholicism and a certain tendency towards the Lutheran church, Maria Yudina felt a strong sense of inner belonging to Russia as well as a profound sympathy with the tragic fate of her homeland as a result of the February Revolution of 1917. This is shown in a journal entry of Maria Yudina from the period after the February Revolution: „Россия! Неужели она погибнет?. Господи, Боже! Просвети меня! Что дороже: родина или интернационал? Я еще недавно говорила, думала о «вырывании личности из государства», а теперь нет для меня ничего дороже России! Родина! Какое чудесное слово.“ (“Russia! Is it possible that it will perish? Lord God, illuminate me! What is more important: one’s homeland or the world? Not long ago, I still thought about the separation of personality and the state, but today there is nothing more important to me than Russia! Homeland! What a beautiful word.” Maria Yudina. Luči božestvennoj ljubvi, p. 28).
Interestingly, Maria Yudina’s religious conversion caused no indignation in her Jewish family. Yudina’s father, a highly educated man and a positivist with sceptical-agnostic tendencies, showed a liberal attitude towards every faith.

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19 August 1509 Pfefferkorn prohibits Jewish books #otdimjh

19 August 1509 Johannes Pfefferkorn implements Padua Mandate Confiscating Jewish books #otdimjh

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Item IV.1, folio 6, recto. Protocols of Meetings: City Council and Jewish Community of Frankfurt am Main, 1509-1510. (From the Institut für Stadtgeschichte  Frankfurt am Main, Juden Akten 779.

On 19 August 1509, Emperor Maximilian signed the infamous Padua Mandate, thereby authorizing confiscation of Jewish books in the Holy Roman Empire on the grounds that they contained elements that were heretical, blasphemous and libelous. The emperor also claimed that the books “turn you away from our Christian faith.”

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JOHANNES PFEFFERKORN (Joseph; 1469–after 1521) was a Jewish believer who became an anti-Jewish agitator. Originally from Moravia, Pfefferkorn claimed to have been educated by a relative, Meir Pfefferkorn, a dayyan in Prague. A butcher by profession, he was convicted of burglary and theft, but released on payment of a fine. After his release, at the age of 36, he and his wife and children were converted to Christianity in Cologne (c. 1504), where he found employment. He put himself under the protection of the *Dominicans, who were quick to make use of him in their campaign against the Jews and their literature.

Between 1507 and 1509 Pfefferkorn wrote a number of anti-Jewish tracts: Judenspiegel (“Jews’ Mirror”), in which, incidentally, he spoke out against the *blood libel; Judenbeichte (“Jewish Confession”); Osterbuch (“Passover Book”); and Judenfeind(“Enemy of the Jews”). All were also published almost simultaneously in Latin translation. The treatises certainly betrayed a thoroughgoing ignorance of rabbinic literature. Pfefferkorn demanded the suppression of the Talmud; prohibition of usury; forced attendance at *Sermons to Jews (longstanding Dominican objectives); expulsion of the Jews from the last German cities which had sizable Jewish communities –*Frankfurt, *Worms, and *Regensburg – unless such attendance took place (they were in fact expelled from Regensburg in 1519); and their employment in the most menial tasks only.

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Through the influence of Emperor Maximilian’s pious sister Kunigunde, and the support of the Cologne Dominicans, Pfefferkorn gained access to the emperor and in 1509 was empowered by him to confiscate any offending Jewish books, including prayer books, with the exception of the Bible. The confiscations took place on Friday, Sept. 8, 1509, in Frankfurt and subsequently in Mainz, Bingen, and other German cities. When the archbishop of Mainz, the Frankfurt city council, and various German princes intervened on behalf of the Jews, Pfefferkorn addressed a petition to the emperor (Zu Lob und Ere – “In Praise and Honor,” 1510, also in Latin) in defense of his cause. Though the vacillating emperor ordered the return of the confiscated books, six weeks later, on May 23, 1510, he was apparently influenced by an alleged *Host desecration and blood libel at*Brandenburg, and under pressure from his sister, he ordered the appointment of an investigating commission.

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Prayer: Father, forgive the crimes of anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism committed at this time. As Jewish believers in Yeshua we particularly regret the way Pfefferkorn treated his own people, and are ashamed that such accusations of anti-Judaism can be levied against a Jewish “believer”. Help us to put right the wrongs of the past, through servant-hearted love for you and your people. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen.

http://www.library.illinois.edu/rbx/exhibitions/Reuchlin/essay-section2.html

Johannes Pfefferkorn immediately launched the ground war, the actual implementation of the mandate, in Frankfurt am Main, home to one of the most vibrant Jewish communities of the day. The anti-Jewish forces hoped that success in Frankfurt would build unstoppable momentum; that the first battle would decide the entire war.

Nonetheless, it initially proved difficult to build momentum in Frankfurt. As soon as the new policy was announced in the Frankfurt synagogue on 25 September 1509, the Jewish Community and the City Council of Frankfurt undertook every possible effort to undermine or delay implementation. On 28 September 1509, Pfefferkorn was able to confiscate all books in the synagogue library except the Bible, but the removal of all private books in Jewish hands was blocked by Uriel of Gemmingen, Archbishop of Mainz, in response to a petition from the community.

That set the stage for a showdown between Jonathan Kostheim, a leading member of the Frankfurt Jewish Community, and Johannes Pfefferkorn at the court of Maximilian, then in northern Italy. Despite Kostheim’s determined efforts, the confrontation was a resounding success for the anti-Jewish campaign. Maximilian reissued the confiscation order in the Roveredo Mandate of 10 November 1509, now authorizing the archbishop of Mainz to supervise implementation of the policy.

The anti-Jewish forces, now spearheaded by Pfefferkorn and the Mainz theology professor Hermann Ortlieb, decided to resume the confiscations in Rhineland communities other than Frankfurt. Beginning in December 1509, they swiftly seized all Jewish books in several important communities, first in Wurms, still a major center of Jewish learning, and then in Mainz, Bingen, Lorch, Lahnstein, and Deutz.

Although Pfefferkorn and Ortlieb had not returned to attack the Frankfurt Jews, the City Council and the Jewish Community of Frankfurt continued to challenge the legality of the mandate. In January 1510, the City Council began sending instructions to its emissary at the imperial diet in Augsburg to aid the Jewish community in its efforts to quash the mandate. This culminated in the city’s demand to Maximilian on 16 March 1510 that the books seized from the synagogue library be returned to the community.

Johannes Pfefferkorn was also present at the Diet of Augsburg, actively campaigning for the policy. He issued an inflammatory pamphlet, In Praise and Honor of Emperor Maximilian (Augsburg, February 1510), to bolster support for the Roveredo Mandate.

In a dramatic move, Pfefferkorn and Professor Ortlieb left Augsburg for Frankfurt, with the intention of implementing the mandate without further authorization or clarification from Maximilian or the estates of the empire. They appeared in Frankfurt on 22 March, insisting on their right to proceed. In consideration of the coming Easter holiday, the Council requested a delay until 10 April for surrendering the books. On about 3 April, the Council sent a complex, but powerfully argued petition to its emissary in Augsburg for submission to Maximilian. It insisted that the confiscation decree was illegal because civil and ecclesiastical law granted the Jews property rights as well as the freedom to practice their religion.

Since the emperor did not respond to the city’s petitions, Pfefferkorn and Ortlieb were able to proceed on 10-11 April 1510 with a complete confiscation of Jewish books in Frankfurt with the exception of the Hebrew Bible and books owned by non-Frankfurt residents. An inventory of 13 April indicates that nearly 1500 Jewish books were confiscated.

Nonetheless, the Frankfurt Jews did not concede defeat. On 23 May 1510, in a stunning turnaround, the emperor abruptly revoked authority for the confiscation and ordered the return of all Jewish books. The concession was granted in consideration of the willingness of Jewish creditors to renegotiate a loan to Duke Erich of Braunschweig, an important military ally of the emperor. The Jews of Frankfurt received their books on 7 June 1510, but with the stipulation that the books remain in Frankfurt pending the emperor’s final formulation of a policy.

The agreement, thus, was only a temporary suspension of the policy. On 6 July, the emperor issued the Füssen Mandate, which authorized a legal and theological assessment of the confiscation policy. This step was probably taken in part as a response to the legal challenges raised by the Frankfurt City Council. With academic endorsements in place, the emperor would again be able to authorize seizure of Jewish books.

This development looked so ominous that the City Council of Frankfurt warned the Jewish Community that confiscations were about to resume.

Prayer: Father, forgive the crimes of anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism committed at this time. As Jewish believers in Yeshua we particularly regret the way Pfefferkorn treated his own people, and are ashamed that such accusations of anti-Judaism can be levied against a Jewish “believer”. Help us to put right the wrongs of the past, through servant-hearted love for you and your people. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen.

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0016_0_15682.html

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Protocols of Meetings: City Council and Jewish Community of Frankfurt am Main, 1509-1510.
Institut für Stadtgeschichte Frankfurt am Main, Juden Akten 779, fol. 6r-13v; 19v

This small fascicle, written as the events unfolded, is the most significant source for reconstructing the history of the confiscations in Frankfurt. It contains six entries describing encounters, most of which occurred in the Frankfurt synagogue, between the Jewish Community, representative of the City Council of Frankfurt, and the anti-Jewish Commission under the leadership of Johannes Pfefferkorn and Professor Hermann Ortlieb of the University of Mainz.

The first entry, of 25 September 1509, records the very announcement of the book confiscations in the synagogue. The Jewish Community was stunned and responded that, as “people in shock,” they need time to react to this grave threat.

Other entries record the two confiscations, first on 28 September 1509 of 168 books in the synagogue library, and then on 11 April 1510 of all Hebrew books owned by members of the Community.

Transcription and digitized version of manuscript

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17 August 1850 Samuel Schor born #otdimjh

17 August 1850 Birth of Samuel Schor, second generation JBY in Jerusalem #otdimjh

 

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Samuel Schor was born in Jerusalem on 17 August 1859, and was baptized in Christ Church, Jerusalem, on 11 September 1859. He was the second son of Nathan Israel Schor and Rachel, who was Nathan’s second wife. Both his parents were refugees of sorts in the Jerusalem Community. [Mishkan 37/2002, Yoelit Migron, Samuel Schor, the Man and His Time, p5-21]

Nathan was a tailor from Austria, probably from Galicia. He was baptised in Cairo on 23 March 1850 by Rabbi Christian Lazarus Lauria and Johann Rudolph Theophilus Lieder in the chapel of the CMS (Church Missionary Society). His first wife died in September 1851 and he was left with four young children.  He left Cairo and went to the LJS station in Jerusalem to find work and an arrangement for his children.

Nathan’s second wife, Rachel was Samuel’s mother and had been baptised in the LJS station on 2 April 1847. She had been abandoned at the age of 17 by her husband, when he reneged on the faith (according to missionary F.C. Ewald). After her baptism she married Judah Lyons on 28 July 1847, and after Judah’s death she married Israel Nathan Schor on 27 March 1853.

Samuel Schor was educated in the Boys’ School of the LJS in Jerusalem, first as a day student and later, in the end of 1871 as a boarder.

While in college, on 2 June 1882, Schor was offered mission work in Galilee but declined. In February 1883 he started to work as a missionary in the LJS, first in London, later in Birmingham and then in Jerusalem. On 5 April 1884, he married Miss Remdall, but not before the Mission Committee sanctioned their marriage. He arrived in Jerusalem on 12 November 1886, but after ten months he went back to England on account of the illness of his wife and child. In England he was again attached to the Metropolitan Mission.18 While in Jerusalem Schor, James Edward Hanauer and Ben-Zion Friedman were recommended for ordination to the General Committee in London by A. Hastings Kelk, the head of Jerusalem mission station. The Committee sanctioned the ordination of Hanauer and Friedman, but refused to approve Schor’s ordination.19 He was ordained deacon in 1889,20 and in 1890 he was ordained minister.21 During all this time Samuel Schor served as a missionary of the LJS in London.22 In 1891 he got a curacy in Felixtow, and left his work with the LJS. However, he did not sever his connection with the mission. He was involved with the mission’s supporters, and visited its auxiliary societies.23

Schor held his first Palestine Exhibition in 1891 in Felixtowe,24 and this was the beginning of his long-time activity with the Palestine Exhibitions in the service of the LJS. In 1893 he renewed his work with the LJS, this time as the association secretary of their northwestern district.25 Schor’s main charge in that office was to collect money for the LJS activities. Toward that purpose he endeavoured to enlarge the circle of LJS supporters. He attended the meetings of the auxiliary Societies in his district, and spoke there. He also represented the LJS at the Keswick Convention in 1894, where he found many opportunities to present the mission activities to the attendants.26 Schor was known as a magnetic speaker, and he was invited to preach before Jews in special events like the services conducted on Passover feast in the Church of Whitechapel.

On 30 September 1904 he was appointed Head of the Mission in Liverpool, and on 1 January 1906 he was appointed the General Secretary and Manager of Palestine Exhibitions. In March of the same year he gave up charge of the Liverpool Mission, and was finally able to dedicate all his time to the development, preparation and display of the exhibitions. Schor organized the exhibitions [which became “The Bible Come to Life”] for some 23 years, until on 31 May 1914, when he resigned his post with the Palestine Exhibitions to become a Vicar of the Christ Church at Blackpool. He held that post until 1923. From 1923 till 1925 he was in charge of the Barbican Mission to the Jews. He opened up work in Poland, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, establishing many mission stations. He also purchased two Gospel vans for extensive colportage work throughout East Europe.

His successful work in the Barbican Mission came to end when he had a stroke in September 1925.

Samuel Schor also took part in the public Hebrew Christian life. He was a president of The Hebrew Christian Alliance and Prayer Union of Great Britain, and as such he shouldered much of the work of organizing the International Hebrew Christian Conference in 1925. At that conference the International Hebrew Christian Alliance (IHCA) was founded, and Samuel Schor was elected as one of its Vice-Presidents.35 Frederich Levison, the son of Leon Levison, the first president of the IHCA, assumes that Schor would have been elected first president if he had not fallen ill. Samuel Schor died 9 November 1933 in his home in Longfield, Kent.

Milgron writes: “… Samuel Schor (1859-1933) was nevertheless a very interesting man. He was Zionist, a lover of the Jewish nation and of the HolyLand, and he was also a great organizer and an eloquent speaker. He was bornto a Hebrew Christian family of the Anglican community in Jerusalem, but spent most of his adult life in England. He was a clergyman, a missionary to the Jews, and an author. In terms of his beliefs, he was a fundamentalist, and fundamentalism was at the core of his entire worldview. He believed in prophecy, and in the restoration of Israel in their homeland, and therefore he supported Zionism. Out of love for the Holy Land, he also prepared and exhibited the Palestine Exhibitions for about 25 years. He believed that Israel is the chosen nation beloved of God, and that Hebrew Christians have a special mission to Christianity.”

Prayer: Thank you Lord for this second-generation Jewish believer in Yeshua, and his gifts in evangelism, writing, speaking and building the Hebrew Christian Alliance. May we build wisely and respectfully on the work of others, honouring your purposes for you people Israel and all nations. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen.

(taken from Mishkan 37/2002, Yoelit Migron, Samuel Schor, the Man and His Time) p5-21

http://caspari.com/new/images/stories/archives/Mishkan/mishkan37.pdf

Migron, Yoelit. Samuel Schor, the Man and His Time, in Mishkan 37/2002, pp 5-20

Schor, S. Palestine and the Bible: Illustrating the Manners and Customs of the People in Bible Lands (London, 1931), 21-22

Schor, S. “Gleaning Mission from the Field”, JI (April 1890), 60-61

Schor, S. “Palestine Light on Scripture Difficulties, I. The Hole in the Door”, JMI (April. 1911), 58-59

Nine Oriental Songs, Arranged and collected by the Rev. Samuel Schor, London 1929.

Schor, S. “What I saw at the Zionist Congress in Basle”, JMI (Nov. 1890), 174-5

Schor, S. The Everlasting Nation and thier Coming King, pl 127 (London and Edinburgh [1933], 41-42

Wilkinson S. H. and Schor, S. The Future of Jerusalem. Its Successive Phase with Regard to Present Events, London 1917.

Schor, S. Palestine for the Jews; or the Awaking of the Jewish Nation, 2nd edition, London 1907.

Palestine in London. Official Guide, June 11 to July 2, 1907, 2nd edition, pp. 145, 1907

The Apocalypse, A Simple Exposition, London, the Barbican Mission to the Jews, [n.d.]

Samuel Shor, Intyrest Facts about Jerusalem, London Society, [n.d.]

  1. Schor, Dreyfus and Zionism

Narrative of the Proceedings of the Great Council of Jews to Examine the Scriptures Concerning Christ, October 1650 (from “Catalogue of Works Published by the London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews”, Ninety-fourth Annual Report (1902), no pagination).

The call to the first International Hebrew Christian Conference, signed by Samuel Schor, J. J. Lowe, and E. Bendor Samuel, expressed the faith that faced that stirring hour:

“We believe that the times of the Gentiles are being fulfilled and that the God of our fathers, according to His gracious promise, is about to restore Israel to her ancient heritage. We also believe that as Hebrew Christians, though a remnant weak and small, we have a share in the building up of ‘the Tabernacle of David that is fallen down.’”

Very gladly did the Alliance in Britain take on the tremendous task of organising this conference without having any machinery in hand, and its members rejoiced wholeheartedly when the conference met on the 5th September, 1925, and when the International Hebrew Christian Alliance was born. The choice of London for the headquarters of the new Alliance followed naturally. To avoid confusion, the Hebrew Christian Alliance and Prayer Union changed its name again and became the Hebrew Christian Alliance of Great Britain [now British Messianic Jewish Alliance].

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16 August 1913 Menachem Begin born #otdimjh

16 August 1913 Birth of Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel #otdimjh

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Menachem Begin was born in Brest-Litovsk, Poland on 16 August 1913, son of Zeev-Dov and Hassia Begin. He was educated at the Mizrachi Hebrew School and the Polish Gymnasium (High School). In 1931, he entered Warsaw University and took his law degree in 1935.

Until the age of 13 he belonged to the Hashomer Hatza’ir scout movement, and at the age of 16 joined Betar (Brit Trumpeldor), the nationalist youth movement associated with the Zionist Revisionist Movement. In 1932 he became head of the Organization Department of Betar for Poland travelling on its behalf throughout the country, and contributing many articles to the revisionist press. He was sent to Czechoslovakia to head the movement there.

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In 1937 he returned to Poland, and for a time was imprisoned for leading a demonstration, in front of the British Legation in Warsaw, protesting against British policy in Palestine. He organized groups of Betar members who went to Palestine as illegal immigrants, and in 1939 became the head of the movement in Poland. On the outbreak of World War II, he was arrested by the Russian authorities and in 1940-41 was confined in concentration camps in Siberia and elsewhere, but was released under the terms of the Stalin-Sikorski agreement.

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On his release he joined the Polish army and was transferred to the Middle East. After demobilization, in 1943, he assumed command of the Irgun Zvati Leumi (National Military Organization), known by the initials of its Hebrew name as “Etzel”. In this capacity he directed Etzel’s operations against the British, and the Palestine Government offered a reward of £ 10,000 for information leading to his arrest, but he evaded capture by living in disguise in Tel Aviv. In 1947, he met in secret with several members of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine as well as the foreign press, to explain the outlook of his movement.

After the establishment of the State of Israel, he founded the Herut Movement, together with his colleagues, and headed the party’s list of candidates for the Knesset. He has been a member of the Knesset since the first elections.

On 1 June 1967, Mr. Begin joined the Government of National Unity in which he served as Minister without Portfolio until 4 August 1970.

On June 20, 1977, Mr. Menachem Begin, head of the Likud party – after having won the Knesset elections (17 May 1977) – presented the new Government to the Knesset and became Prime Minister of Israel.

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His publications include “White Nights” (describing his wartime experience in Europe), “The Revolt”, which has been translated into several languages, and numerous articles.

He was married to Aliza (nee Arnold), and has a son and two daughters.

From Wikipedia:

In 1978 Begin, aided by Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan and Defense Minister Ezer Weizman, came to Washington and Camp David to negotiate the Camp David Accords, leading to the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty with Egyptian President, Anwar Sadat. Before going to Washington to meet President Carter, Begin visited Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson for his advice

Under the terms of the treaty, brokered by US President, Jimmy Carter, Israel was to hand over theSinai Peninsula in its entirety to Egypt. The peace treaty with Egypt was a watershed moment in Middle Eastern history, as it was the first time an Arab state recognized Israel’s legitimacy whereas Israel effectively accepted the land for peace principle as blueprint for resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. Given Egypt’s prominent position within the Arab World, especially as Israel’s biggest and most powerful enemy, the treaty had far reaching strategic and geopoliticalimplications.

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http://www.jinsider.com/videos/vid/200-history/3411-begin-wins-noble-peace-prize.html

Almost overnight, Begin’s public image of an irresponsible nationalist radical was transformed into that of a statesman of historic proportions. This image was reinforced by international recognition which culminated with him being awarded, together with Sadat, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978.

Yet while establishing Begin as a leader with broad public appeal, the peace treaty with Egypt was met with fierce criticism within his own Likud party. His devout followers found it difficult to reconcile Begin’s history as a keen promoter of the Greater Israel agenda with his willingness to relinquish occupied territory.

Agreeing to the removal of Israeli settlements from the Sinai was perceived by many as a clear departure from Likud’s Revisionist ideology. Several prominent Likud members, most notably Yitzhak Shamir, objected to the treaty and abstained when it was ratified with an overwhelming majority in the Knesset, achieved only thanks to support from the opposition. A small group of hardliners within Likud, associated with Gush Emunim Jewish settlement movement, eventually decided to split and form the Tehiya party in 1979. They led the Movement for Stopping the Withdrawal from Sinai, violently clashing with IDF soldiers during the forceful eviction of Yamit settlement in April 1982. Despite the traumatic scenes from Yamit, political support for the treaty did not diminish and the Sinai was handed over to Egypt in 1982.

Begin was less resolute in implementing the section of the Camp David Accord calling for Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He appointed Agriculture Minister Ariel Sharon to implement a large scale expansion of Jewish settlements in theIsraeli-occupied territories, a policy intended to make future territorial concessions in these areas effectively impossible. Begin refocused Israeli settlement strategy from populating peripheral areas in accordance with the Allon Plan, to building Jewish settlements in areas of Biblical and historic significance. When the settlement of Elon Moreh was established on the outskirts of Nablus in 1979, following years of campaigning by Gush Emunim, Begin declared that there are “many more Elon Morehs to come.” During his term dozens of new settlements were built, and Jewish population in the West Bank and Gaza more than quadrupled.

Reflection and Prayer: Menachem’s legacy and influence on the modern State of Israel and neighbours has been significant and continues to this day. The issues he grappled with in his lifetime, from the War of Independence to the Sinai peace deal have set and example for all those who followed. May the Lord restore Zion, and may the Prince of Peace establish his kingdom in justice and righteousness. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen.

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1978/begin-bio.html

http://www.jinsider.com/videos/vid/200-history/3411-begin-wins-noble-peace-prize.html

http://www.archives.gov.il/ArchiveGov_Eng/Publications/ElectronicPirsum/MenachemBegin/

http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/12814/menachem-begins-bond-christian-zionists/#p8zBA4AEvikb7xLZ.97

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15 August 1941 Trocmé Rescues Jews #otdimjh

15 August 1941 Pastor Trocmé speakes his mind, continuing to provide shelter for those fleeing the Shoah #otdimjh

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On 15 August 1942, Trocmé vehemently articulated his opinion to Georges Lamirand, a minister in the Vichy government, on an official visit to the small town of Chambon sur Lignon.

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Pastor André Trocmé was the spiritual leader of the Protestant congregation in the village of Le Chambon sur Lignon in the Department of Haute-Loire in southeastern France. During the war, the village and its environment became a haven for Jews fleeing the Nazis and their French collaborators. When the deportations began in France in 1942, Trocmé urged his congregation to give shelter to “the people of the Bible.” The village and its outlying areas were quickly filled with hundreds of Jews. Some found permanent shelter in the hilly region of Le Chambon; others were given temporary asylum until they were able to escape across the border, mostly to Switzerland. Despite the danger, Jews were housed with local townspeople and farmers, in public institutions and at children’s homes. With the help of the inhabitants, some Jews were escorted on the dangerous treks to the Swiss border. The entire community banded together to rescue Jews, viewing it as their Christian obligation.

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The people of Le Chambon acted upon their conviction that it was their duty to help their “neighbors in need.” Many factors joined together to create this generous spirit: the history of Protestant persecution as a religious minority in Catholic France; empathy for Jews as the people of the Old Testament and a shared biblical heritage; and, last but not least, the powerful leadership and example of the pastor and his wife, André and Magda Trocme.

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The Vichy authorities suspected what was taking place; it was, after all, impossible to keep such wide-scale rescue activities secret over such an extended period of time. The authorities demanded that the pastor cease his activities. His response was clear-cut: “These people came here for help and for shelter. I am their shepherd. A shepherd does not forsake his flock… I do not know what a Jew is. I know only human beings.” Neither pressure from the authorities nor searches by security agents diminished the resolve of the Trocmés and their team. On 15 August 1942, Trocmé vehemently articulated his opinion to Georges Lamirand, a minister in the Vichy government, on an official visit to the small town. Several days later, gendarmes moved into Le Chambon to purge the town of its “illegal” residents. Two weeks later, on 30 August, the suspense climaxed with rumors of an arrest warrant issued against the minister. In his overflowing church, Trocmé urged his congregants to “do the will of God, not of men,” and stressed the importance of fulfilling the commandment in Deuteronomy 19:2-10 concerning the entitlement of the persecuted to shelter. There were no arrests that day, and several days later the gendarmes were withdrawn from town, their mission an utter failure.

In February 1943, Trocmé and two colleagues – Reverend Edouard Theis and teacher Roger Darcissac – were arrested and interned at the Saint-Paul d’Eyjeaux camp near Limoges. Trocmé was held for five weeks, while the camp commander tried to pressure him to sign a commitment to obey all government orders. The minister refused to succumb, but after his release he was forced to go underground. Even his absence, however, did not deter the residents of Le Chambon. They were united in fulfilling a supreme moral command. They continued Pastor Trocmé’s legacy by welcoming persecuted Jews into their homes, enabling many of them to live in relative calm until the end of the war.

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On January 5, 1971, Yad Vashem recognized André Trocmé and on May 14, 1984 his wife, Magda, as Righteous Among the Nations.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for the courage and faith of Pastor Trocmé and the citizens of Le Chambon sur Lignon who did so much to protect Jewish people and help them escape the Shoah. Raise up in our generation men and women of justice, righteousness and peace, who will heal the world and restore your purposes for all creation. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen.

http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/righteous/trocme.asp

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_and_Magda_Trocm%C3%A9

https://vimeo.com/26149799

http://www.chambon.org/weapons_en.htm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdlJql-TY6c

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14 August 1888 The faith of Nathanael Kameras #otdimjh

14 August 1888 Nathanael Kameras declares his faith in Yeshua #otdimjh

 

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Kameras, Rev. Nathanael, missionary in Vienna, of the British Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Jews. The following is an abridged extract from his autobiography [Bernstein: Some Jewish Witnesses]:—

“On the road leading from Russian Lithuania to [303] Russian Poland there stands a large and lonely inn. It was there that I first saw the light of day in the year 1862. A clay-floored entrance divides the rooms of this extensive house into two rows; on one side are the rooms for the strangers, who lodge here over night, the large tap-room, and the small rooms belonging to my parents; on the other, a one-windowed chamber, where our teacher slept, and the hall, a pretty large room, set apart for prayer and study. It contained long narrow tables and forms, an ornamented cupboard on the eastern side, in which the Thora-rollen (law scrolls) were kept, a prayer-desk with a seven-branched brass candelabra and a hanging lamp. The male members of our family, and Jews from the neighbouring villages, assembled there for Divine Service, to which the women listened in an adjoining room. There, too, our teacher instructed my four brothers and myself in the Hebrew language, and in the Talmud.

As soon as I was five years of age, my parents, wrapping me up in a Tallith (prayer-mantle), solemnly brought me in there, in order that I might receive the necessary instruction; so that from that moment I devoted myself exclusively to study. Every other occupation, every other employment, every recreation, game, or fun of childhood, all that makes the heart light and the body strong, was banished from my life. I felt like a bird imprisoned in a cage, and debarred the free movement of its limbs; outside, was the world in all its beauty, where numbers of joyous creatures were flying about in the full enjoyment of their individual freedom, whilst [304] I, powerless, clung to the bars.

Before my eyes lay a landscape, rich in rural splendour; as far as I could see, village after village, surrounded by fruit-laden trees, presented a most cheerful aspect, and from the window I could watch the Christian children at their play, enjoying the fresh air of freedom in the flowering fields and sprouting meadows. Amidst the songs of birds, the rustling of leaves and the roar of the forest, I caught the sound of happy human voices, whilst I, chained to my books all day and until late at night, was forced to pore over marriage contracts and divorces and other similar things, which would have been better kept from my childish reason. ‘Oh, if I were only that poor farm-servant coming home from the fields with the tired horses, or that ragged boy driving his cows home!’ Thus I sighed. But all my longings and wishings were useless; I had to go over the same tiresome road that all the Jewish children of orthodox parents must labour through. The master behind me, drove me on with a volume in one hand and the rod in the other; my father drove me, my relations drove me, and thus, without rest or quiet, I was hurried through all those voluminous works that are of no value for practical existence whatever, so that the years of my childhood passed by, joyless and unenjoyed.

“This Jewish elementary school, called Cheder, seemed to me just like a prison, and the teacher, who bore the title of Melamed, I looked upon as a jailer, so that when the news reached me of my parents’ resolve to send me to a Yeschiva, I welcomed it with [305] the same joy with which a convict welcomes his acquittal after long and hard imprisonment.

“It was not difficult to find a suitable Talmud school for me. The son-in-law of our district Rabbi was Rosh-Yeshiva (professor at a Talmud college) in a town where an uncle of mine lived. Thither my parents sent me shortly after I had been confirmed (Bar mitzvah), that is to say, when I had completed my thirteenth year. There, in his private lodgings, I visited Rabbi Schimele Wolf, for so the Talmud lecturer was called, and begged him to accept me as a pupil. At first he received me very coldly, and with dignity that involuntarily pointed to the importance of his position, but after I had delivered the recommendations I brought from his father-in-law, and had told him that his family doctor was my uncle, the stern look in his coal-black, thoughtful eyes, that shone like two glowing specks out of his pale face, fringed by a black beard, relaxed, and with extreme friendliness, he dispensed with the usual examination on entrance, and ordered his servant to lead me to the Yeshiva, and assign me a place there. We were still at a considerable distance from our destination when a great noise of human voices broke on my ear, and when at last I entered the hall, in which the Yeshiva was held, I was quite stunned by the terrific noise that was being made there.

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More than a hundred boys, youths of about thirteen to twenty years of age, were assembled, each one screaming and moving about in unrestrained restlessness. Some of them were sitting round long, narrow tables, continually swaying the [306] upper part of their bodies backwards and forwards or from side to side. Others were standing in front of small portable desks, leaning over them or swaying to and fro with them, or going round and round them. Each boy had a ponderous volume open before him, from which he chose a passage, that he quoted at the top of his voice. One roared like a lion, ‘Omar Rabbi Akiwa (Rabbi Akiwa said) sa……id, sa……id ..Ra……bbi…A……ki……wa…, oi Mamuni (Oh Mammy) Rabbi, oi Tatutim, (Oh Daddy) Akiwa, oi Ribene schel olam (Oh Lord of the World) said; said Rabbi Akiwa; what did Rabbi Akiwa say? A …ki….wa…sa……id…,’ and so on for hours. Another sang very daintily, imitating the voice of the chanter in sad and joyful melodies, such as had remained in his memory from the various festivals, or he composed something at will, with the following words; ‘According to the doctrine of Samai it is permitted to eat an egg that has been laid on a holiday on that same day, whereas according to the doctrine of Hillel, it is forbidden.’ My arrival attracted their attention and had a subduing effect; there was a lull. Suddenly a voice cried: ‘The Massgiach (overseer) is coming.’ This was uttered in the same sing-song manner, as though the boy were studying some sentence out of the Talmud.

It was repeated by a second, then a third and a fourth in the same manner, and was the signal for them all of one accord to begin their lamentations and singing afresh, with increased vigour, endeavouring to drown each other’s voices. It is in this way that these pale boys and[307] youths prepare for the ‘Schir’ (lecture), which lasts from two to four o’clock in the afternoon, taking place daily, and being carried out in the following manner:—The scholars stood round in a semi-circle at the feet of the Rabbi, who sat on an elevated chair at a desk. Charging one pupil to read a certain passage out of the Talmud, he desired another to read the commentaries to it, and again a third to read and explain the marginal notes to those commentaries.

“In the quiet cloisters of a large town I met a lonely man, living one day like another, a quiet and edifying life, to whom I felt particularly attracted. His head was a real study; a long white beard covered his breast, and he had a high, broad forehead, a finely arched nose, and large blue eyes, in which a whole world of goodness lay; over his features there was an expression of touching humility, as though he would excuse himself to everyone for daring to breathe the air and to fill a space in the universe. Hoping that with him I should not fare badly, I settled down there, and indeed, I did not regret it. From the beginning he showed me his goodwill in unlimited measure, taking care that I should receive free board from the prayer-men, who assembled there three times a day, and in such wise that I boarded with a different one each day in the week; besides which he contrived to give me ample pocket-money.

I was often allowed to substitute him in reading ‘Mischnais for anniversaries’ (extracts from the Talmud to be read for the departed souls on the respective days of their death, which the relations generally remunerate well). He took me[308] with him wherever he was called to sing psalms or say prayers, either at the cradle of a new-born child that had scarcely opened its eyes to the light, or at the bedside of the dying, closing them to the light, to a wedding-feast or to a death-watch, and everywhere money poured in. Thus we lived together day and night in a neighbourly, friendly manner in the cloisters, and nothing lay further in the recluse’s thoughts than that he should rob me of my peace of mind, which, however, he did without wishing to do so. His fervent prayers for the redemption of the people of Israel it was that had such a striking effect on my mind. Years will not efface from my memory the sight of that old man at midnight, when all around was quiet, and he thought himself unobserved, taking off his shoes and seating himself on the floor, imploring the Lord in heartfelt sincerity, in His mercy to return to Jerusalem and reign there as He had prophesied.

I still hear those heart-rending tones, in which he prayed; ‘Stretch out Thy right hand, Oh God! and in mercy redeem the people of Israel. Oh, that it might soon be announced to the unhappy nation: “Your Redeemer has come to Zion!”‘ Every sentence was accompanied by a sigh or broken by a sob. He imagined me to be asleep, but I heard every word, and was often moved to tears, involuntarily beginning myself to pray eagerly and perseveringly that the Messiah might soon come and release His people from captivity. From henceforth I devoted much thought to the subject, and, in my childish fancy, pictured to myself how glorious it would be when the Messiah would come,[309] and, as a child rejoices to greet its father from afar, I looked forward, daily and hourly, to the advent of the Redeemer of Israel. On the other hand, the question often worried me; Why does not God answer such real and fervent prayers? Why does not the Messiah come to release His people? I did not dare to speak to Rabbi Todresch, such was the name of the recluse, on the subject, but once when a Talmudist from some well-known Talmud school came back to his home in the cloisters, I told him what it was that troubled me so much, and my astonishment was indeed great when I heard his answer: ‘Prayers such as those will and can never be answered; for the Messiah has come.’

In vain did I beg him to explain it to me, but he purposely avoided all my questions, telling me only so much that he possessed a book which explained the question thoroughly, but which he could not entrust to me for fear of the consequences such a step might have for himself; besides, it would be of no use to me, as I should have to give up my present career entirely. ‘If you want to know the full truth,’ he said to me, ‘you must go abroad, for only there can you search after the truth freely and independently; whereas here, you must sell your freedom for your bread.’ Tortured by restlessness, despair and longing, and fearful lest my parents should get ear of the change in my heart, when they would certainly oppose my plans, I decided to follow his advice at once and to leave Russia.

“After taking a hearty leave of the recluse, and my new friend, the Talmud student, I seized my staff and[310] went out into the wide world, a toy for wind and weather. Like a nomad, I wandered uncertain, for a long period, from town to town and from village to village. It was quite late often when I reached a strange place; all the doors and gates were closed, and I turned my steps to the ever open house of God, entered upon a ‘Kasche’ (a Talmudic question of dispute) with any one of those present, and I immediately felt at home, had my board and lodging, and the pious prayer-men, who came there daily, openly and secretly pressed their charitable gifts into my hand. Thus I was enabled to wander through the whole of Russia to the frontier, which, having no passport, I could not legally cross, and was therefore forced to smuggle myself through by giving a man a rouble to conduct me through a wood which led into Germany. Now that I was in another country, my position became a different one. On reaching the first German town, I asked as usual for the ‘Beth-Hamedrash’ (Jewish prayer and school-house), but to my greatest dismay no one could give me any information. Only one thing I was aware of, and that was that I could not make myself understood at all. It was evening; the first stars, those companions of my wanderings, began to twinkle in the sky, but into my sad heart no light would enter; there all was dark and dull. Here I was, standing at the corner of a street leaning against a post, a little bundle in my hand, without means, work, knowledge or language; alone, forsaken, not knowing where to turn. A lady passing by stopped and looked at me inquisitively.

The sight of a [311] slender little lad, clothed in the long wide Kaftan, with a pale face and sad eyes filled with tears, must have aroused her sympathy. She addressed me, but finding I did not understand a word she said, she gave me a few pence and showed me an inn where I could pass the night. It was certainly a very cheap night’s-lodging that I had, but I was obliged to sleep amongst tipsy room-companions, to whom I was much too interesting a personage for them to leave in peace. Some would insist on making a common covering of my long coat; others played incessantly with my long fore-locks, whilst others again were interested in my Arba-Kanfoth (a garment with fringe at the ends) and were continually pulling at them. It was a long, weary night that I passed there, and as soon as the rising sun shone faintly through the dirty window-panes I hastened out, and, being once more alone, allowed my tears to flow. For the first time since my departure home-sickness with all its overwhelming power quite overcame me, and I felt the seriousness of life in its full meaning.

However, I soon took courage again, laid my Tephillin (prayer-strap) on and implored the Lord to lend me His assistance and protection, taking a solemn oath that from henceforth I would blindly let myself be guided by Him in all things. With this sacred oath and with the firm conviction that the Lord would carry out all to His glory, I went on my way. With great difficulty and many privations I reached Breslau, where I met a man from Russia, who assisted me in obtaining a place as instructor of the Hebrew language in a Polish [312] Jew’s family. After staying there a few months I seemed, curiously enough, to be drawn as by an invisible hand towards Vienna. The money I had earned as a teacher amply sufficed to take me there, and after a lengthy search, I found inexpensive lodgings in a Jewish family. (The head of the family is dead, but the wife still lives here, and her son is now, thanks be to God, a dear believing Protestant Christian.) Here I became acquainted with a Jewish shoemaker, who was the first to give me a New Testament in the Hebrew language to read. The very first sentence in that book was sufficient to draw me to it like a magnet, for there it was written what that Talmud-scholar had briefly told me, written clearly and in full, namely, that the Messiah, who until now had been the object of my prayers, my desires and hopes, had actually been born. On asking him to tell me something more about the book, the shoemaker conducted me to the missionary, Herr E. Weiss, who advised me to go to Pastor Schönberger, preacher at Prague, where I found a very friendly welcome. I passed the winter there, but, as Pastor Schönberger was obliged to be away for a year, he took me to his friend, the Rev. D. A. Hefter, L.J.S. missionary at Frankfort-on-the-Main, who kindly took me under his paternal care.

“The year 1881 was a decisive one for me. The Word of Life rooted itself deeper and deeper in my heart; prejudices vanished one by one, and the love of Jesus took their place. I perceived how deeply my heart had been wounded by sin; but at the same time [313] I acknowledged the most lovable of all the children of the earth, the Son of God, who has redeemed me too through the shedding of His innocent blood, and has healed all my wounds.

On the 14th of August, 1881, I was baptized by the missionary, Herr Hefter, in the ‘Dreikönigskirche’ at Frankfort-on-the-Main, receiving the names Nathanael Karl Albert. At first I learnt the art of bookbinding in Frankfort, but as the Rev. D. A. Hefter desired me to become a pupil at the missionary-house in Barmen, I complied with his desire most willingly, regarding this step as one indicated by the Lord. One year I passed in the preparatory-school of the missionary-house, and four years in the seminary itself. During these years I received abundant blessings from the Lord. I was led deeper and deeper into the Spirit of the Word of God, and guided to more independent search by teachers endowed with truly divine minds, and treated with the greatest affection by a friendly circle of brethren, among whom I was permitted, thanks be to God, to grow stronger in faith, more fervent in love, and riper in understanding.

To serve the Lord in His empire, and to win souls for Him out of His ancient people of the covenant, was my most coveted desire, and this too the Lord has granted me in His endless goodness and mercy. At the end of the year 1887 I passed my final examinations, and at the beginning of 1888, in answer to the proposal of the British Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Jews, I was permitted to begin my active duty among Israel in Vienna. Three years later, in [314] 1891, I received my ordination from the celebrated theologian of Würtemberg, Dr. Burk, in Stuttgart.

“One incontestible certainty has been proved to me both in the wonderful guidance of my life as also in my profession, which I now hold for more than sixteen years, that of myself I can do nothing, not even the slightest thing, and imbued with the conviction of my powerlessness and utter helplessness, of my own poverty and wretchedness, I have learnt to make use of the sweetest privilege of our life, namely, the subjection of my own will to the will of my Saviour, Jesus Christ.”

 

Prayer: This story of Nathaniel Kameras challenges us today – his genuineness of spirit, the deep orthodox background in which he grew up, and his firm faith in Yeshua. Thank you, Lord, for his witness and service. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen.

http://othes.univie.ac.at/29938/1/2013-07-18_9904081.pdf

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/37734/37734-h/37734-h.htm

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13 August 2002 Hansi Dobschiner promoted to glory #otdimjh

13 August 2002 Death of Hansi Dobschiner, writer and Holocaust survivor #otdimjh

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Johanna-Ruth Douglas (Hansie Dobschiner) was born in 1925 and died on August 13 2002. She was a well-known and much loved figure in the British Messianic Jewish Alliance, and a leading member in Scotland. Here is her obituary from the Glasgow Herald. Not only did she die on August 13, but on the same date in 1943 she miraculously escaped arrest and deportation.

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Johanna-Ruth Douglas, known to everyone as Hansie, who wrote a moving memoir of her experience as the only member of her family to survive the Holocaust, has died at the age of 76.

Selected To Live tells of her remarkable series of escapes as a teenager in her native Holland when she kept one step ahead of her Nazi pursuers to survive the war with the help of a series of sympathetic and brave Dutch families.

Born to Jewish parents in Berlin, Hansie’s earliest memory, with which she begins the book, was of attending celebrations for Adolf Hitler’s birthday with other members of her class as a seven year old.

Joanna-Ruth Dobschiner, as she was born [in 1926], quit Germany with her family two years later to return to her father’s native Amsterdam in the face of increasing anti-Semitic incidents in Berlin. The city was to prove no safe haven as the Germans invaded and the Gestapo began rounding up Jewish boys. Hansie’s two brothers were the first of the family to be taken, dragged away while walking the streets. The family were later notified that one of the boys had been killed.

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In April 1943 soldiers forced their way into their home and took Hansie’s parents and the orphans they had been sheltering. She would have been taken too but the soldiers failed to look behind a partition that separated her room off from that of the orphans’. Terrified she lay still in her bed as the house was searched. Her mother managed a hurried farewell on the excuse that she wanted to ensure that the gas and electricity had been turned off. It was the last time either parent spoke to her. Both were killed in the concentration camps.

The Nazis caught up with Hansie, who was working as a nurse, three months later. Even as she was being led away she offered to look after the children on their journey, caring for others despite the fate that was befalling her.

She was loaded on to a cattle truck which was heading for the camps having attached herself to a family with a baby. Spotting the baby had red heat spots under its bonnet, she began shouting that the baby had an infectious disease, claiming it was scarlet fever. The moment of inspiration worked. Persuading the soldiers that they were all infectious, she and the family were able to escape.

Another time she was already on board a train bound for the camps when those around her discovered she had worked in the hospital’s isolation unit and demanded she leave in case she spread disease.

She stepped back onto the platform, explained the problem to the guards in German and asked for a lift back to the hospital.

Remarkably resourceful and resilient, Hansie only once felt like giving up. But a nurse who worked beside her stopped her. She was persuaded to return to the hospital and be taken into hiding by the Dutch resistance.

It was a risk. Hansie, then 18, had no way of knowing if the man who came for her whom she knew only as Domie was someone she could trust.

He cut from her coat the yellow star that the Nazis insisted that Jews wore, and led her to a safe house. She would spend the rest of the war hiding in attics in Holland sheltered by the Resistance. ‘Domie’ was Bastiaan Ader, a Christian pastor who helped save the lives of over 200 Jews.

Eventually he was arrested and tortured. He refused to give the Gestapo a single name and was shot.

It was while Hansie was in hiding in his manse that she read the New Testament for the first time. Through that she came to a Christian faith while remaining wedded to her Jewish identity.

Despite losing all her close family, Hansie Douglas devoted her life to reconciliation, never giving in to the bitterness and recrimination that would have been so understandable.

She had what can only be described as a genius for friendship, combined with an infectious sense of fun and invincible good humour. Her voluminous address books of friends around the world included many Germans.

After the war, Hansie moved to Scotland where she trained as a nurse. She met and married Donnie ”a real Scottish Highlander” and had twin daughters.

She worked tirelessly to foster relations between the Christian and Jewish communities and was a regular speaker at meetings and conferences worldwide.

She was the moving spirit behind Via Sucot, an organisation that donated an ambulance to the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross in 1982 and continues its work to this day.

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The ITV and BBC made documentaries about her experiences, the latter in 1989. Selected To Live was published in nine languages in addition to English. The latest edition was published in 2000 by Hodder & Stoughton.

Despite battling cancer for 18 months, Hansie Douglas was full of life until the end.

She had planned a holiday with her daughter, Anne, in which she intended to take up painting water-colours.

She is survived by her husband, Donald, daughters, Anne and Dorothy, and her grandchildren Andrew and Laura.

Johanna-Ruth Douglas (Hansie Dobschiner), writer and Holocaust survivor; born 1925, died August 13 2002.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for the life and witness of this redoubtable lady, who escaped arrest and survived the Shoah through a series of miraculous events. Thank you for her faith in you, her witness, testimony and vibrant personality that speaks so strongly of what it means to be Jewish and to believe in Yeshua. Help us to follow her example of courage, humour and faith. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen.

http://www.messianicgoodnews.org/johanna-ruth-dobschiner-holocaust-survivor/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2flYAKBYUyU

http://www.jewishroots.net/library/testimonials/johanna_ruth_dobschiner_testimony.html

1926-2002

Moving quickly, fourteen-year-old Johanna-Ruth Dobschiner, known as Hansie to family and friends, drew back the curtains of her bedroom window. Aroused early by the unexpected noise of aircraft and gunfire over Amsterdam, she saw that the street outside was full of neighbours. Most of them were pointing upwards and looking agitated. It was very early on Friday morning, 10 May 1940. When Hansie looked up she was astounded to see the sky full of parachute troops. Not many hours later, she saw the terrifying sight of grey-uniformed German troops in her own street. A horrendous time had begun.

The world soon learned that at 04.30 on that morning of the 10th May Hitler had attacked a genuinely neutral country without declaring war. The Dutch had taken no part in the First World War. At the end of it they had even provided a home for life for Wilhelm, the defeated German Kaiser. Hitler had only one reason for unleashing his vast army against the unsuspecting Dutch: parts of their territory offered easy routes for him to deliver attacks on the British and French. The peace-loving Dutch, who had not fought a war since 1830, were beaten into submission within five days. The extremely brutal occupation of their country lasted for five years.

What happened next was particularly frightening to Hansie’s family. Their original home had been in Berlin. Hansie and her two older brothers, Werner and Manfred, had been born there. Seeing the writing on the wall, the Dutch consul advised them to flee from the rising tide of Nazi anti-Jewish prejudice and physical assaults. Hansie was only nine and looking forward to living in the safety of Holland. That was in 1935. When the German troops landed on them literally ‘out of the blue’, the dreaded enemy they had left behind had caught up with them. There had been exactly five years free from menace and terror.

Things quickly became worse in Holland. The Dutch queen, Wilhelmina, warned her people that she might be kidnapped and used as a hostage. Reluctantly she escaped to England on a British destroyer. The rest of the population was trapped. Within days the new German government started issuing laws. The majority of them were directed against the Jewish people, though any Dutch citizen who resisted the illegal occupation could also be in trouble. There was no way of evading the power of the invaders.

New regulations demanded that Jews hand over personal possessions such as cars, bicycles and radios. Notices appeared outside shops, hotels, theatres and cinemas announcing: ‘Forbidden to Jews.’ They were not allowed to use public transport. A miserable Hansie was forced to leave her integrated school and attend an all-Jewish school. Early in 1941 a new law stipulated that all Jews had to purchase bright yellow stars five inches (twelve and a half centimetres) wide with the word ‘JEW’ in capital letters written on them. The stars had to be stitched on all clothing worn outdoors. Anyone who did not wear the star was punished severely, but in the first stage of the occupation it was not a matter of life and death.

On 21 February 1941 anti-Semitism did become a life-and-death issue. Hansie’s two brothers were among many thousands of male Jews randomly rounded up off the streets and sent to concentration camps. Hansie insisted for the rest of her life that her mother’s hair went white overnight. As feared, her two brothers were never seen again. Her parents eventually received some ashes.

Hansie’s ambition was to be a nurse, but for the time being she had to be content with helping a dressmaker. As more and more Jewish people went to the ‘land of no return’, as she put it, fear gripped her and her thoughts became increasingly fixed on the Jewish Hospital. She had the idea that she would be safe as a patient in the hospital. A friendly nursing sister arranged for the unnecessary removal of her appendix. Hansie judged that her appendix was worth two weeks of peace of mind and safety.

In the autumn of 1942 she felt genuinely ill and a doctor diagnosed scarlet fever. Rules required a sign to be put up at the door of the house: ‘Danger. No entry. Scarlet Fever.’ Evidently the Nazis did not like infectious illness. The disease brought six weeks of welcome security. As she lay in bed, her very devout orthodox Jewish parents celebrated the feast of Hanukkah. This comes in December at about the same time as Christmas.

Confined to bed in an upstairs room, and on her own for much of the time, Hansie thought about recent events. She definitely believed in the Jewish religion and its observances. She was Jewish, and did not want to be anything else. But something was missing from this seventeen-year-old’s life. She analysed her religion and that of her parents. It was strict in outward observance of the festivals, yet God seemed distant. God was not part of their everyday lives even though they were so religious. It shook her deeply to think that God was not treated as a present reality. Orthodox Judaism offered festivals, such as Hanukkah, to remember the actions of God in the history of the Hebrew people. She started asking herself whether she could know God personally now. If God was real, could he be contacted? Why did her religion make him so remote?

During December 1942 she went through an experience that she described like this: ‘I became “God-conscious” for the first time in my life… This remote person, the Almighty God, allowed me a glimpse of Himself… I now knew that God not only was, but is… Three words now stood rock-like in my life: “GOD … WITH … US.” I knew myself close to God that evening.’

To share this message of comfort and assurance, she wrote the three words on three pieces of paper, and pinned them to the wall above her bed. The intention was good. If the family trusted in the truth of the words, they would find encouragement. That was how she reasoned.

However, when she shared this ‘moment of revelation’ about the nearness of God with her parents she was interrupted by her father’s comment: ‘Don’t talk such utter rubbish.’ Plainly the notion that God could be known as a daily reality was not for a devout orthodox Jew. Though she most certainly had not become a Christian, the strange spiritual experience of the nearness of God sustained her through the dreadful events of the next two years.

By February 1943 the scarlet fever was gone. The smell of Dettol antiseptic dispersed, and the notice warning about infectious disease had to come down. The Dobschiner family returned to ‘normal’. All of them felt the sword of Damocles was hanging over them by a very thin thread.

At 22.00 on 9 April 1943 came the bitterest blow of all. The cat-and-mouse existence ended. The doorbell rang, and did not stop ringing, until the door was opened. Hansie heard heavy footsteps on the stairs. A voice shouted, ‘Hurry up. We haven’t got all night.’ Her father and mother were forced out and pushed into a waiting army lorry. Hansie lay frozen with terror in her bed, which was hidden by a partition in the room. To her amazement the soldiers did not see her. The door banged and she was totally alone in a silent house.
Her brain worked at top speed. At first she remained motionless, mostly out of fear. Then she realized the danger she was in. Looters, who always seemed to know when a family had been arrested, might come before curfew ended. Acting quickly, she dressed, put a few essentials in a little black case and walked out as soon as 06.00 came. She dare not return. As she walked away, dazed and in a state of shock, she glanced back. It had been such a lovely flat with a good view of the canal and its barges.

She reported for duty at the Jewish day nursery where she worked. All she had to say was: ‘They came last night … the whole family.’ The others understood without further explanation. On a dreary April morning she watched the ghastly scene as dozens of army lorries lined up ready to receive the pathetic lines of helpless people. Then she saw her mother and father. She wanted to wave to them, but did not dare. If a soldier saw the movement of a curtain and a wave, he might simply point at the window. Other soldiers would burst into the building and take her to join the victims who had already been arrested. It was essential to resist the temptation to wave. Lorries’ engines revved, and then they were all gone. She would never see her parents again. The awful deed, a living burial, was done.

Hansie’s parents were among over 100,000 Dutch Jews murdered during the five years of Nazi occupation. The most well-known was teenager Anne Frank. The diary she kept before she was betrayed was published after her death.

On Sunday, 20 June 1943, Hansie was seized from the house where she was lodging. Soldiers were everywhere, ordering people into waiting army lorries. Some Dutch Nazi black-shirt traitors were on hand to help with ‘language-problems.’ Amazed at her own composure, Hansie said to her escorts in German, ‘Can I do anything to help?’ In her own mind she thought that she could look after some crying children. The offer was accepted. She could mind lost children.

When they reached the railway station in Amsterdam, the children were reunited with their parents. The scene on the station was one of confusion. The adult victims stood around, just accepting what was happening to them. German soldiers ordered a goods train to be filled up. Fifty prisoners about to make the journey to death were to go in every cattle truck. The Jews were packed in like animals. There were no seats and no sanitation.

Before long it was Hansie’s turn to climb into a cattle truck. She helped to lift a pram aboard. The family’s baby was crying. The child was covered with red spots. In a desperate attempt to escape, the ‘nurse’ used her fluency in German. Through the bars she cried out loudly, Attention. Attention. Infectious disease. Open the door at once. Highly infectious family in this wagon. Hurry! Hurry!’

To her astonishment, nearby soldiers opened the door. Boldly, she ordered them to keep their distance. An officer told her that as a nurse she was in charge of the family! They were to go to the station waiting room. With the help of a friendly Dutch doctor, the resourceful seventeen-year-old continued the pretence that what were probably only heat spots were in fact the symptoms of scarlet fever. Trains came and went, clearing the station of its human misery. Finally, Dr van Ebo arranged for the family and a few others to be loaded into an ambulance. Still wearing her yellow star, Hansie climbed in with the family. The ambulance headed for the hospital. In this way, she escaped death once again. Another nightmare was over – for the time being.

Without informing Hansie, Dr van Ebo told the hospital matron what his young helper had done on Amsterdam railway station. As a result the Jewish City Hospital employed Hansie Dobschiner as a nurse, even though she was unqualified. All the time she was there she wondered how safe she really was. When would she be taken away to a concentration camp? It seemed as though an answer came on 5 July 1943.

Officers from the Gestapo came to the hospital, took over the loudspeaker system, and read out the names of everybody who had been employed there for less than three months. H. Dobschiner was one person named. Still in uniform, she was bundled into a lorry. They went through familiar streets to a waiting train.

Hansie climbed into a compartment. Before they moved off, a lady also on the journey to oblivion, asked Hansie on which ward she had worked. ‘Infectious diseases,’ was the reply. Did they not have enough trouble without catching infectious illness from her? A chorus of voices pleaded with her: ‘Please go; please leave us.’ To Hansie it seemed ironic to be concerned about any sort of infection in such a situation.

She broke all the rules and stepped out on to the platform. At once a soldier approached. Ignoring the pointing rifle, she spoke in her Berlin accent: ‘It’s no use; they won’t have me in the train because I worked in the isolation unit for infectious diseases. I think I had better go back to the hospital. Have you any transport please?’

The soldier lowered his gun and turned to another soldier: ‘Are you going back to the city? Drop this nurse at the hospital, will you? Thanks.’

It worked! Hansie was the only person to return to the hospital that day. All the others went to death camps.

The matron in charge of the Jewish hospital assigned Hansie to district nursing. Her orders were to care for a woman with pneumonia called Mrs. Sim. One day Mr. Sim returned from work very early. Out of breath, he gasped, ‘They are doing your hospital. It’s dreadful.’ Sure enough, the hospital was emptied. All doctors, nurses and patients were sent to their deaths. Hansie was saved only because she was off the premises. This inhuman deed occurred on 13 43 1943.

Hansie was now a couple of weeks away from her eighteenth birthday. However, the will to live was ebbing out of her. She became inwardly convinced that her turn to be rounded up was now inevitable. Were all these attempts to escape worthwhile? She decided to end the mental torture by giving herself up. She even chose a date to surrender: 6 September. Hearing of her decision, a friend, Lena, physically restrained her from walking into captivity. ‘You selfish, stupid, childish idiot,’ her friend yelled. ‘Get back at once and stop your nonsense.’

Having been restrained from ‘committing deliberate suicide’, as Lena described it, consider Hansie’s surprise when on the following day some anti-Nazi Dutch people offered her the opportunity to go ‘underground’. This meant that there was the possibility of going into long-term hiding somewhere. Another Jewish girl had been the first choice, but was in bed with influenza. Because the next day was the deadline, Hansie was selected as a substitute.

8 September 1943 was the great day. The instructions were simple, and given to protect everyone involved. They were communicated by Jan, a hall porter who had worked in the hospital. She must memorize, not write down, an address in Amsterdam East. At the corner of that street she was to sneeze and take a handkerchief out of the right-hand pocket of her coat. As directed, she went to the house. Reaching the address, she knocked at the door and walked into the house – and into a new way of life.

A tall slim man greeted her. She had to take him on trust since she had no idea who he was. It might well have been a trap. Instead the man told her to call herself Francisca Dobber from then on. He cut off her yellow star. She changed out of her nurse’s uniform. The man said that she could call him ‘Domie’. Together they took a train to the north of Holland, where he hid her in his house along with five other young people.

In Holland Christian ministers are usually called ‘Dominie’. Domie was in fact Bastian Johan Ader, an evangelical minister of the Dutch Reformed Church. Aged thirty-three when he met Hansie, he was a key figure in the Dutch resistance to the Nazi occupation. Bastian Ader not only sheltered Jews; he protected airmen who had been shot down and arranged for them to be smuggled back to England. As well as these activities, he kept up a Reformed biblical ministry near Groningen in the north of Holland. No wonder that one of Hansie’s first impressions of him was that he seemed tired. He is one of the world’s little-known great men.

In the safety of Bastian Ader’s home in the countryside at Nieuw-Beerta, Hansie was away from the world of soldiers, arrests, curfews and raids. Ader’s wife, Jo, had one young son and another on the way, so Hansie helped around the house. It turned out to be tense and lonely waiting for liberation as the Allied armies slowly pushed the Germans back. News of Allied progress after D-Day, 6 June 1944, came from the BBC in London on an illegal radio located in the attic of the church house.

Hansie kept up her Jewish religion as much as the solitude allowed. Hundreds of books lined the walls of every room in Domie’s home. One day in early 1944, as she was looking at titles, she found an illustrated Children’s Bible. She decided to read it. Chores were done, and time passed so slowly that boredom was a problem. Most of the stories it contained were familiar to a religious Jew, such as those about Moses and the prophets. Then for the very first time she read the story of Jesus Christ. It was puzzling. Why had she never been told before about this Jewish prophet? The more she read, the more she admired Jesus. She commented, ‘As the weeks and months passed by, his life became part of mine. I enjoyed the company of my Bible and my new-found prophet and hero, Jesus.’

One day she unearthed a Bible in Dutch. After reading the Old Testament, there was a blank page before a new title page. On that title page was printed: ‘The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’. Following this were four books about Jesus called ‘Gospels’ – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. She read the four short books, and some following books, with growing interest. It became easy to understand why these Christians, such as Domie, or ‘Uncle Bas’ as she now called him, acted as they did.

One Sunday morning in February 1944, she asked if she could join the others in a secret position from which she could observe the church service. It was the first Christian message from the Bible that she had ever heard. Domie preached from John chapter 13. Hansie sensed his sincerity. The power of the sermon reached her heart. The whole story of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and its implications for her, became clear.

During one evening in April 1944, Domie informed the group that he must go into hiding because the Nazis were determined to arrest him. They would have to move quickly before his house and church were raided. As they all dispersed Hansie asked Domie’s wife for permission to take the Dutch Bible with her. She consented – and seemed not the least bit surprised.

Moved from one safe house to another, Hansie was helpless. Her future, if she had one, was in the hands of Domie and his friends. She knew that these ordinary Dutch people were freely accepting a fearful risk. They could be shot for hiding her. Days and weeks dragged by. More and more her thoughts turned to the Bible.

She wrote, ‘[God] was explained and portrayed so clearly by…Jesus Christ, that I almost felt that I knew Him – that I could depend on him – that I could take Him at His word and live according to His advice. It only worried me when this Jesus Christ made definite claims regarding his purpose on earth or his authority; or proclaimed His …divinity and the part He played in our approach to the Almighty Creator of the Universe. Some of His…words would come to me:

“No one cometh unto the Father but by me.”
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
“Come unto me…and I will give you rest.”
“All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.”
“I am come that they may have life.”‘

Then she recorded: ‘Unconsciously, He had stolen His way into my life, and I could no more think of God the Father without visualizing Jesus Christ. Slowly but surely, God became a reality… As day succeeded day [Christ drew] me closer and closer to his heart… What reason did we have to disbelieve this Jesus, when he claimed that he was that promised Messiah who would die for our sins and rise again to be the first of those to conquer death? … A vital truth surged through my very being … He’s alive! … It was [Jesus] who had been busy with me all these months. His vast almighty penetrating Holy Spirit had pierced my iron curtain of reasoning.’

On Easter Monday 1944, Hansie was sharing the attic of a safe house in the south of Holland with Sister Moony. They had known each other in the Jewish Hospital in Amsterdam. Neither had realized the other was still alive. Back in the period when she had worked in the hospital, Hansie had looked up to the sister with awe and dread because she was such a bossy person. However, in the attic they were just two equal human beings. A plaque above the attic door proclaimed a verse form the Old Testament which says, ‘Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart’ (1 Samuel 16:7).

Hansie’s search for a relationship with a personal God came to an end that Easter Monday. Once chores were done, all her waking hours were taken up with the study of the little black Bible in Dutch. She was oblivious to the once-domineering presence of Sister Moony. As she read, God became more and more real. Matters came to a conclusion with an act of faith and commitment. Hansie was peeling potatoes. She laid down the knife, rose from the stool, and walked to a spot among the attic beams in a little corner of the roof. ‘I slowly knelt down, clasped my hands in absolute surrender and closed my eyes to all around. “Rabboni Joshua Hamoschiach” (“Master Jesus Christ”). It was all I could whisper. Deep thankfulness and love to Almighty God for his inexplicable revelation and gift flooded my entire being. God cared. He cared after all!’

By the end of Easter Monday 1944, even though she had been a Christian for only hours, Sister Moony asked her why she seemed so happy. ‘My inward happiness had spilled over and made her wonder,’ she thought.

During the next few weeks, she eagerly read all she could from both Old and New Testaments. She felt as though she had entered a different world, one with a life that was endless. She was totally secure spiritually because she was in the hands of her majestic Creator, and his appointed prophesied Saviour.

In later years the writer spent hours discussing Hansie’s wartime experiences with her. She explained, among other things, how she found these words in Matthew’s Gospel: ‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one who can kill both soul and body in hell’ (Matthew 10:28). That was strong language, she thought. Even if she were arrested now, her Master would look after her, even if she had to die.

The spiritual experience that happened in moments lasted a lifetime. By faith she came to know the risen Christ. Domie and his wife were good examples, but no human being gave her new life. Christ did that directly. No human mediators were involved. It was a living faith in the living God who became real to her as she read the pages of Scripture. She never repudiated her Jewish background, but she was Christ’s disciple from that Easter Monday in 1944 for as long as she lived.

She described her experience like this: ‘Never before did I have such close fellowship with Christ, the irresistible Christ, whose existence some people deny.’ When the air-raid sirens sounded and people ran for shelter, she wrote, ‘Christ stayed with me, His Holy Spirit, able to be everywhere at the same time, covered me with security. I knew myself loved, even when no human being considered my need.’ The cross became a symbol of ultimate victory to her.

In the late summer of 1944, she stood on the edge of the pavement at Treebeek in the south of Holland with thousands of others and cheered and waved at the columns of Allied tanks that set them all free from a vile tyranny. Though in a crowd, she felt alone. There was no Bastian Ader to thank. She had nowhere to go, no friends, no family, no money. There was no one close to her except the Christ she had come to know by faith.

Fortunately she found someone to take her in. She helped the Red Cross, and for the first time in her life began to attend church. She told the minister that she wanted to receive the bread and the wine at the communion service. Naturally the pastor was curious about her since she was Jewish by race and Christian by belief. She had come to believe that by turning to Christ, a Jew became spiritually complete. It was not a matter of being converted to a new religion, but fulfilling the old one by bringing it to completion. It seemed so clear to her that the Old Testament prophecies only had meaning as they came true in the New Testament. As she would say in later years, she exchanged ‘religion’ for the reality of God.

Hansie Dobschiner told the Dutch Reformed minister in Treebeek the story of her spiritual journey. On Sunday, 19 November 1944, she was baptized. She knelt on a special stool in front of the assembled congregation. The minister said, ‘Johanna-Ruth Dobschiner, I baptize you in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.’ When the words ‘Father, Son and Holy Spirit’ were pronounced Hansie felt cold water on her forehead forming the shape of a cross. It was as if she was invisibly marked. To her it was an everlasting mark, which nobody else would ever see. After being baptized and confessing her faith, she received the bread and wine from the Lord’s Table.

Soon after being received into the church, Hansie received the news from the north of Holland that Domie had been killed. Betrayed for money, he had been arrested in Haarlem. Taken to a Gestapo prison in Amsterdam, he was tortured, but did not betray a single name. He was shot there on Monday, 20 November 1944, aged only thirty-five. Hansie could scarcely take the news in. It seemed particularly poignant to her that his death came one day after her baptism and communion. A fine Christian man had lost his life just as all Holland was on the verge of liberation by the Allies. She wrote, ‘He died to secure my life in this world. Christ died to secure it in the next. Life here and life eternal by the shedding of blood.’

When the Second World War ended Hansie was only twenty years old. It took her at least two years to recover from living like a hunted animal for so long. Though she never gave way to bitterness, self-pity, or the desire for recrimination which would have been so understandable, she had forgotten how to laugh or live a normal life.

In post-war Holland she was delighted to meet with other Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. When they found out that she accepted Jesus as the Messiah, they accused her of being a ‘Geschmad’. This means an apostate from Judaism, a Jewish person who has been baptized into the Christian faith. The Jewish community would accept that a Jew could be an atheist, a Communist, even a criminal, but never a Christian. It was, and is, seen as betrayal. Though Hansie clung fervently to her Jewish roots and hated anti-Semitism, it made no difference. The Jewish community would not accept her. There is no place in Judaism for the ‘Messianic Jew’.

Britain exercised a magnetic power on Hansie’s mind, probably because it had stood out as a beacon of freedom during the years of war and tyranny. In 1946, sponsored by the generosity of the International Hebrew Christian Alliance, Hansie studied for two years at the Bible Training Institute in Glasgow. The training to qualify as a nurse took a further three years at Glasgow’s Victoria Infirmary. The plan was to be a staff nurse at Tiberias Hospital in Israel. It was not to be. Instead, she married a Scotsman, so becoming Hansie Douglas. Twin girls were born soon after. At last she enjoyed a normal family life.

Hansie Douglas had a great gift for friendship, even with many German people. Tirelessly, she worked to foster good relations between Christians and Jews. Both Independent Television and the BBC – the latter in 1989 – made documentaries about her. The cameras followed her as she retraced her steps to the house where she had once lived in Amsterdam, and from which her parents were so cruelly removed. She is seen on Amsterdam station reliving the scenes of the deportations, and in the attic where she peeled potatoes and became a Christian believer. The hero of the documentary has to be Bastian Johan Ader, ‘Domie’. The pictures of her describing her memories of him while glancing down at his simple grave make compelling viewing. The gravestone just gives his name and two dates: 30-12-09 and 20-11-44.

When her husband Donald became a polio victim, he needed to be cared for twenty-four hours a day. With very little help, Hansie fulfilled the role of carer for many years. Her daughter Anne became a consultant psychiatrist in Glasgow. Dorothy married and went to live in Australia.

Hansie Douglas died of cancer in Glasgow in 2002 aged seventy-six. Her faith never changed from the basic beliefs that she had come to on Easter Monday 1944, though her understanding obviously increased. When she was puzzled for a title for her memories, her teenage children thought of ‘Selected to Live”. The book Selected to Live, now translated into ten languages, has rarely been out of print since first published in 1969. It presents a vivid picture of Nazi-occupied Holland, and a gripping pen-portrait of a resilient young woman trying to avoid death as a consequence of one of the greatest crimes in history.

More information on Johanna-Ruth Dobschiner

For over thirty years I had the privilege of writing and speaking to Hansie Douglas. All the papers relevant to her wartime life were photocopied for me. The TV documentaries mentioned above are also sources for details of her life. These are the reasons why there is information in this account that is unique and additional to her other writings.

When Selected to Live went out of print, she was not happy, and was keen to see her book of memories available once again. She was not feeling well at the time and, through a friend within the firm, I encouraged her to approach Hodder Headline. In 2000 they reprinted it. The first copy in her possession was given to me as a Christmas present in 1999 with the inscription: ‘Thank you for allowing the Lord to use you to bring this book back to life…’ Naturally, it is my hope that my readers will follow this account by reading Selected to Live.

Her obituary appeared in the Glasgow Herald on 17 August 2002 and added further minor details about her life story.

A book about the remarkable life of Bastian Ader is available only in Dutch. The details are: Een Groninger Pastorie in de Storm by J.A. Ader- Appels. If somebody with the necessary skills were to translate this book into English it would, I feel sure, make very interesting reading.

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