If I had a gold filling for every time a Christian asked me why Jews don’t embrace Jesus, or the Christian faith, I’d be a rich guy.
I’ve found that most American Christians don’t know much about Jews, or Israel, or the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. Heck, many of them think Jesus was a Palestinian. Legions more have almost no understanding of the Holocaust.
Once at church, a fellow told me that when he was a boy, he was taught to simply avoid Jews, because they were “bad.” I asked him why and he said, “I don’t know.”
So Christians are puzzled about the Jews’ reluctance to embrace the man they are accused of killing. The Jews don’t respond to evangelism efforts, but we don’t know why.
My very short answer to these kinds of questions is, “Holocaust.”
Few Christians are aware of the dreadful collective experience Jews have had with Christians. For example, a friend of mine, a survivor of the Holocaust, tells the story of being part of forced labor. Marched every day from their camp, into a bombed German city for cleanup, the slaves were then marched back at night. Passing by Christian homes, decorated with Christmas trees, they watched their persecutors enjoying the holiday with their families.
This kind of scene, added to the countless acts of brutality against the Jews over the last thousands of years, tends to give one a perspective.
All this is why a new book by Jeanette Friedman and David Gold – “Why Should I Care? Lessons from the Holocaust” – is so needed. Serving as a layman’s guide to the organized destruction of European Jewry, this fantastic book should be in every church library, Christian home and pastor’s office (not to mention seminaries).
Further, Friedman’s website is a great online resource. The book itself has five appendices, an index, list of internet resources, and a bibliography. And the text itself is under 200 pages, making the project perfect for students or adults wishing to educate themselves with the basics.
The beginning of the book makes a powerful point about certain persons being “Other,” someone a bit different. Often these people are targeted for some reason; often they are weak. No one comes to their aid when an injustice is done. Frankly, Friedman and Gold make this a powerful point because the reader understands that he could very easily find himself in circumstances just like that. No longer is this about Jews. Evil can target anyone, at anytime.
“In Cold Blood” chronicles one of the most chilling events of World War II, the creation of the killing units, the Einsatzgruppen. These units rounded up Jews to be murdered. Why is this so chilling? Because the men who made up these units were “regular” people: truck drivers, dock workers, clerks, salesmen. Battalion 101 enslaved 300 men from the town of Jozefow; they then shot 1,500 women, children and the elderly.
The book is also personal, as Friedman relates the story of her uncle, Yaakov Rabinowicz. A young man in Warsaw when Jews began being moved to the Treblinka death camp, Yaakov became a symbol of the modern Jewish warrior who would fight for Israel a mere five years later. Yaakov managed to escape from Treblinka, and, rather than save himself, rode the transport train back to Warsaw to warn the inhabitants. He organized fighting units, but did not survive the war. Yet we remember Yaakov Rabinowicz!
Elsewhere in “Why Should I Care?,” the authors make the compelling point that Jew hatred is driven by irrationality. Picking up the “blood libel” used against Jews by some Christian groups for hundreds of years, extremist Muslims have co-opted the blood libel, which claims that Jews kidnap young gentile children to use their blood while making ritual foods. Why is this significant?
Because the Bible forbids Jews from ingesting blood!
Do you see the crazy contradictions that pass for reality among Jew-haters?
Another outstanding feature of the book is a barely 20-page, concise history of the Holocaust. No longer should Christians (or any gentile) use ignorance as an excuse.
The book also shows us that the sickness of Jew-hatred is never quite eradicated. Although the Holocaust is put in front of populations still today, anti-Semitism is always there.
Citing the hit film “Borat,” the authors point out the goofy character’s foray into a bar; he begins to sing a song: “In My Country Is a Problem/Throw the Jew Down the Well.” Bar patrons are seen singing along with Borat!
Because persecution of ethnic groups is still with us, even in comedy films, books like “Why Should I Care?” are critically important in saving lives.