Thursday, January 27, 2011

A-7713 International Holocaust Remembrance Day #2

 A-7713 The number tattooed on the arm of Elie Wiesel.  One of the best known survivors of the Auschwitz death camp, Wiesel has documented through many writings his experiences as well as others from the horrors of the camps.  At this site you can read a little about Elie Wiesel and his journey as a young teen through manhood~ a journey of mind and spirit~ as he struggles to make sense of all he and others suffered.Elie Wiesel

On this International Holocaust Remembrance Day, The 2 Spies would like to share some of the thoughts from Wiesel's heart. May we truly understand what it means to not forget....

Wiesel is in the second row of bunks, 7th from the left.

"I told him that I did not believe that they could burn people in our age, that humanity would never tolerate it . . ." 

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

"I have tried to keep memory alive... I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices." 

"To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time."

"But because of his telling, many who did not believe have come to believe, and some who did not care have come to care. He tells the story, out of infinite pain, partly to honor the dead, but also to warn the living - to warn the living that it could happen again and that it must never happen again. Better than one heart be broken a thousand times in the retelling, he has decided, if it means that a thousand other hearts need not be broken at all. "

"I pray to the God within me that He will give me the strength to ask Him the right questions."

"We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." 

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest."

"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January 27 International Holocaust Remembrance Day #1

These next few days, in a tribute of remembrance, The 2 Spies will leave the Land of Milk and Honey and journey elsewhere. A place and time that is difficult to visit.  A journey to Hell. A journey we can chose to take or not. For the ones remembered.... they had no choice.

We have no words. Our words are feeble and trite and cannot express any measure of what happened to 6 million Jews and 6 million Gentiles. Instead we will present the words of those who were there. Please forgive the graphic descriptions and photos but they are our only ticket on this path of remembering. May G-d give us the grace to learn deeply and wisdom to know how to make a stand in the face of such Hell as history will repeat itself.

The Butterfly
The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun's tears would sing
against a white stone. . . .

Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly 'way up high.
It went away I'm sure because it wished to
kiss the world good-bye.

For seven weeks I've lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don't live in here,
in the ghetto.

Pavel Friedman: Friedman was a young poet, who lived in the Theresienstadt Ghetto. Little is know of the author, but he is presumed to have been 17 years old when he wrote “The Butterfly”. It was found amongst a hidden cache of children’s work recovered at the end of the Second World War. He was eventually deported to Auschwitz where he died on September 29, 1944

First They Came For The Jews
First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Martin Niemöller was a German pastor and theologian, born in Germany in 1892. Originally a supporter of Hitler’s policies, he eventually opposed them. He was arrested and eventually confined in the concentration Sachsenhausen and Dachau camps. He was liberated by the allies in 1945 and continued his career in Germany as a clergyman and as a noted pacifist.

Auschwitz Rose

There is a Rose at Auschwitz, in the briar,
a rose like Sharon's, lovely as her name.
The world forgot her, and is not the same.
I love her and would not forget desire,
but keep her memory exalted flame
to justify the thistles and the nettles.

On Auschwitz now the reddening sunset settles;
they sleep alike—diminutive and tall,
the innocent, the "surgeons."
                                                     Sleeping, all.
Red oxides of her blood, bright crimson petals,
if accidents of coloration, gall
my heart no less.
                               Amid thick weeds and muck
there lies a rose man's crackling lightning struck;
the only Rose I ever longed to pluck.
Soon I'll bed there and bid the world "Good Luck."

Michael R. Burch is an American poet, essayist, editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry. The painting is by Mary Rae. Burch describes the painting's genesis as follows:
"The Rose came to me in a vision, and Mary Rae helped bring her to life. In my vision the Rose floated in the air, suspended before the dismal gray Auschwitz death camp. Thornless, she symbolizes women and children who are defenseless, unless we choose to protect them."


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

An Avenue to Serve

I will bless those that bless you.... A promise from heaven. A reciprocal mandate. You bless. You get blessed.  What ever does it mean to bless the Jewish people and the Land of Israel?  What does it look like when one takes up the call from heaven to be a blessing? 
The act of thoughtfully and creatively being a blessing can take on many forms. Today The 2 Spies would like to present you with HaYovel~ a group of Christians who are putting feet (and hands) to their love of Israel. They are making sacrifices in their personal lives in order to lay down their lives and bless Israel. Their efforts do not go unnoticed nor unappreciated. Consider joining them as they get ready for February and then next summer.

For more information about the work of HaYovel visit their website:    HaYovel

Monday, January 17, 2011

Melanie Phillips

Melanie Phillips, author of Londonistan, gives a lot of food for thought in this interview on Israel TV. Please be sure to leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fishers and Hunters

Below is a report from Israel National News. There is good news. And there is bad news. The good news~ increased Aliyah. The bad new~ increased anti-Semitism. The even worse bad news~ the Jewish people are waiting until things get bad in order to make Aliyah. It is time to wake up. For some, almost past time. Our home is Israel. We, The2 Spies, are acting as 'fishermen' encouraging you to come now~ in safety and with strength. The 'hunters' are positioned~ like we read in this report. The choice is yours.  Listen to the Fishers or run from the Hunters.

Belgian Anti-Semitism Leads to More Aliyah

 According to figures released by the Jewish Agency and published this past week on the website, in 2010 there was an increase of 63 percent in the number of Belgian Jews who made aliyah to Israel. Two hundred and fifty Belgian Jews chose to make Israel their home in 2010, compared to 152 in 2009.

The report cites increasingly open anti-Semitism in recent years and the rise of violent attacks against members of the community, especially its highly-visible hareidi religious members, as causes for the sharp rise in the numbers of individuals making aliyah.
There are 40,000 Jews in Belgium today, about half of whom are members of the Jewish community of Antwerp, which is famous for its involvement in making the city a leading global center of the diamond trade, but at the same time has increasingly been under threat in recent years. brought figures published by Belgian organization, The Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism, which issued in 2009 a report indicating a surge in anti-Semitism in the country. Between 2004 and 2008, the Centre recorded some 60 anti-Semitic incidents each year. The same number of incidents was recorded in the first four months of 2009 alone.

Anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise not just in Belgium, but throughout Europe. In fact, just six months ago, European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor said that European Jewryis in its worst condition since the end of World War II.
“Jews are afraid to walk the streets in Europe with Jewish symbols,” Kantor said. “Synagogues, Jewish schools and kindergartens require barbed-wire fences and security, and Jewish men, women and children are beaten up in broad daylight.”
A main target of anti-Semitic attacks has been the synagogue in the Swedish city of Malmo. Last year, it was struck twice within two weeks, both attacks being in the form of a bomb striking the synagogue. Luckily, there were no injuries either time.

Anti-Semitic remarks in Belgium are not restricted just to the masses. The leadership has also been known to make such remarks, one example being that of Karel de Gucht, the country’s former Foreign Minister and currently the European Commissioner for Trade. De Gucht was number six on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s 2010 list for the top anti-Semitic slurs, due to the following remarks he made in September: “...Don’t underestimate the power of the Jewish Lobby on Capitol Hill. ... You shouldn’t underestimate the grip it has on American politics, no matter whether it’s Republicans or Democrats.”
Israel National News 

But they will say, 'As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.' For I will restore them to the land I gave their forefathers. "But now I will send for many fishermen," declares the LORD, "and they will catch them. After that I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them down on every mountain and hill and from the crevices of the rocks. Jeremiah 16:15,16

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Faith in Action~ Mitzvot

No matter where one goes in Israel, there is always an opportunity to do a mitzvah. (good work) The country thrives on mitzvot. For most people here, doing a charitable deed is just as natural~ and as often~ as breathing. From soup kitchens, to gathering clothing and household goods, to giving change to the ever-present beggar, to visiting the sick and wounded~ caring about the needs of each other is woven into the fiber of everyday life. If someone doesn't know where to help~ just ask. There are hundreds of creative outlets and if you don't know who to ask~ they are even listed in the yellow pages of the phone book. 

One woman I knew was, as I learned later, a typical example of this active caring. Here is a list of her activities: She gathered warm clothing for soldiers, cooked Shabbat meals for those close by who had guard duty, raised funds for equipment for a local kindergarten, published (free) educational materials about Israel, visited the sick and elderly in the hospital, mentored a group of teen-girls to do mitzvot, adopted soldiers and students who had no family in the country, tutored Hebrew to Ethiopian immigrants, ran an on-line store to raise funds for her Yeshuv (settlement), helped poor brides to have fantastic weddings, drove the handicapped to doctors visits and spent time reading to the blind. She is present when terror victims need a shoulder to cry on and active in meeting their physical needs. She, her daughters and their friends had a 'hair-cutting' party to donate their hair for wigs for cancer patients. This is only a partial list~ all while she takes care of a family of 7 and works a part-time job. 

However in the world does she do it? She does not have to muster up ideas,strength, or time. It is all in the way she thinks. Doing for others is ever present in her mind.  It is as easy for her as breathing. And the wonderful thing is, in Israel, she is not an exception. Her attitude and the way she spends her life is quite a norm. There are hundreds of organizations set up to help each other in one way or another. If there is no group, you can start your own!

On example is David, from Efrat. What started as one man seeing a need and meeting it, blossomed into an established organization that has not lost the original vision~ encourage soldiers.  He feeds & visits soldiers and by doing so, he lets them know that they are not forgotten, they are loved. He lifts their spirits and encourages them.  Here is a video from his FaceBook: Standing Together: Standing Together

Israel~ the Land where the Milk & Honey is put into acts of love and compassion.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Jerusalem 1918

Jerusalem in 1918 of Jacob Gross exposure . Amateur film presents a rare and unique daily life in the Old City , Western Wall, Jaffa Street Market . Damascus Gate on Atarngolutio Jewish holy sites , David's Tomb , Rachel's Tomb, Yad Avshalom spring shipping . The music of the desert spirit Nachtshe Hyman fitted originally silent film , courtesy the film edited by Jacob Gross. The film is a Jewish family in Amsterdam and it is unclear if the father collected the fragments , or shot them himself in order to encourage Jewish tourism to Jerusalem after the British occupation . Some of the pictures were taken at the end of the era Ottoman . The new stores look like the film 's Jaffa Street : Shlomo and AI Cohen & Sons Ladarebarag . The film was obtained by Meir Barak, work promoted by the network author Jacob Gross Jerusalem Atara"ah - 1918. who want to purchase a copy can contact PO Box 909 Givatayim 53 108