"Everyone who hears a story of survival becomes a witness." Very stirring words spoken by a Holocaust Survivor lecturing on the last Sunday of 2012 at the Museum of Tolerance as I sat with my Friend in shock and complete disbelief at the sheer level of survival and more survival and yet more surviving that this man was sharing. The level of hatred and horror he experienced as a young man was beyond belief, even after all of the accounts that have been memorialized in films and books, it was hard to hear. In listening to each word, I was reminded that injustice to one of us is injustice to all of us. That good men and women must never stand quietly by when humanity in any form is threatened.
The story of Hitler and the Third Reich is a human story of hate. It is not isolated to this era and point of history. It takes place in hearts and places and spaces around the globe every day. Injustice and in human treatment is perpetuated in the wake of fear and hatred everyday in a multitude of ways large and small.
"I can't explain to you the journey of five days in that cattle car packed with no room for even sitting down, with no windows, no food, heading to the camps that were killing between 12 and 13 thousand a day.... Later, there were dead bodies over burning capacity of the crematoriums stacked so high the sun was not visible, and in the shadow of those bodies.... I was alive."
We are not powerless. This man survived and here he was sharing his story. In understanding how one person survives we understand how society evolves. In understanding that Love remains the answer and hatred is overcome one heart at a time. That through atrocities too shocking to bear, an inner force of survival remains.
As the Talmud states "he who saves one life saves the world." We are all bound by a single thread that connects all of humanity. Do not stand idly by when there is an action that is loving to make, that can change the course of human destiny. Do your part every day to participate in the Loving movement of community. To demonstrate 'justice is what love looks like when it speaks in public.' The one life you save is always your own.
Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely - Proverbs 28:1-28 Seek to be more loving.
We are here to bare witness and remember no matter what circumstance of hate arises before us, there is strength in love and there is survival. As Martin Luther King Jr. said 'you have a power within you stronger than bullets' -- the power of love to cut through fear.
Don't turn away to what needs your attention. Don't stay silent when justice needs a voice. Step into it and open your heart and BE LOVING!
Lots of Love,