The ultimate test of faith is not how loudly you praise God in happy times but how deeply you trust him in dark times – Rick Warren
As I watched the attack on Capitol Hill, I felt sick to the stomach when I saw a long-haired, long-bearded man wearing a black “Camp Auschwitz” T-shirt with a skull and crossbones and underneath was the phrase “Arbeit macht frei,” which means “work brings freedom” This harrowing image took me back to when my family and I were sent to Auschwitz.
How many Jews believed that they were going to work and ended up in the gas chambers? How many believed that their children, although unable to work, would remain in the camps? How many realized what was happening when families were separated? How many felt that God had abandoned them? How many lost their faith in Him? How many died, believing that they would never have freedom again?
I was one of the fortunate ones. I survived. And I didn’t lose faith in God although, I had lost my entire family. It was God who made it possible for me to come to America, the land of opportunity to start a new life. It was here that I met and fell in love with my husband, Samuel, also a Holocaust survivor. Only he and his brother, Levi survived. They were at Treblinka.
We married and had four children–two boys and two girls. As soon as we believed that they were ready, we told them about the horrors of the second world war and our separate ordeals at the concentration camps. We taught them not to doubt God’s love and goodness because of what happened to us. God was there and it was He who liberated us.
And I believe that He will bring judgment on those who stormed Capitol Hill and attacked the core of America which is democracy–a person’s right to life, liberty and justice. Hate and antisemitism exists not only in Europe but here in the United States. I’ve heard disturbing and unsettling stories of Jews being harassed and having hateful people shouting Sieg Heil at them, of spray-painted swastikas outside of synagogue in Maine and a confederate flag tied to the door of the Museum of Jewish Heritage.
Just recently Simeon, our eldest son and his family was harassed while walking home from the synagogue a couple of Sabbaths ago in York’s Upper West Side by a man yelling, “Heil Hitler” and “Go to Israel.” I was in tears when I saw the swastika on the front walls of our synagogue. Hate exists everywhere, even in places where democracy is supposed to be alive and well.
In moments of despair because of the unrest, the violence and the hate, I read the psalms. The reading of psalms is viewed in our tradition as a vehicle for gaining God’s favor and we recite them in times of trouble, poverty, disease or physical danger. In many synagogues, psalms are recited after services for the security of the State of Israel.
I believe that God will deliver His people from their enemies just as He delivered our fathers from the Egyptians and the Nazis. He is our Light and hope in dark times.