Yael's Holy Land Reflections

Certainty in Uncertain Times

Certainty in Uncertain Times

Nov 12, 2020


As the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, I learned about the Holocaust from those who had experienced its horrors firsthand.

I remember wondering as a child why most Jews in Europe had not seen what was coming and fled to safer countries while they still could. However, now I understand that the Holocaust did not happen overnight. It was preceded by decades of gradually escalating anti-Semitism and deteriorating conditions. Most Jews adapted as circumstances slowly changed and believed that the hard times would pass.

The Night of Broken Glass

There was one watershed moment, known as Kristallnacht, which sounded the alarm. We commemorate Kristallnacht, or the “Night of the Broken Glass,” on November 9 every year. On that infamous night in 1938, German officials and citizens attacked Jews all over Germany, ransacking and destroying Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues.

The facts are staggering: During one night, hundreds of synagogues were destroyed. More than 7,000 Jewish businesses were damaged or destroyed, nearly 100 Jews were murdered, and 30,000 Jews were forced into concentration camps. Nazi authorities withheld help while synagogues burned and defenceless Jews were attacked. Ordinary citizens joined the assault, while others watched without uttering a word of protest.

Kristallnacht stands out not only because it was the event that marked the beginning of the end for some European Jews, but also because it was a horrendous incident that received far too little condemnation. When the night was over, and the incident became known to the world, there was no outrage; most turned a blind eye. Many historians believe that the failure of the international community to speak out in November 1938 emboldened the Nazis and paved the way for the outbreak of WWII less than a year later.

Speaking Out Against Evil and Injustice

The annual commemoration of Kristallnacht is a sombre reminder of the responsibility we have to protest evil and injustice whenever we are witness to it. We must understand that we have enormous power, especially when we stand together, to stop evil and bring about positive change.

I believe this is something the Jewish people’s Christian friends truly understand. You have spoken out against anti-Semitism and shown love for the neediest of God’s children.

Your voices matter. Thank you for continuing to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Together, we will continue to use our combined voices to spread hope, share God’s love, and be a source of blessing to the world.

With blessings from the Holy Land,

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Yael Eckstein


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