For the third year Vickie and I are en route to Germany to lead worship for the Days of awe, to teach two seminars at Geiger College, to teach high school students about the Shoah, and to speak in churches and synagogues. It is a great privilege for us to do our tiny part to help replant Jewish life where Hitler ravaged it with smoke fire and gas.
Some say, “You are wasting your time! Do you really think you make a difference?”
I cannot be sure, but I believe it is the effort that counts. We all have a choice. We can use whatever talents we have to make the world a bit more caring and compassionate, or we can throw up our hands in despair and say,”It doesn’t do any good, so why bother?”
The scoffers remind me of a story I first heard nearly 40 years ago when Rabbi David Saperstein told it to my congregation in Columbia, Maryland toward the end of his sermon.
Once a man went every day to the wicked city of Sodom urging the people to repent. His friends mocked him and called him a fool. “Don’t you know,” they sneered, “that those wicked people will never change and become like you?”
“Perhaps,” the man allowed, “they will not change and become like me. But I will continue to bring them my message so that, God forbid, I do not change and become like them.”
And so we set out for Germany with hope and with joy. We know we cannot undo the past, but the future is ours to shape, and I am convinced that the German people want it to be better than the past. We cannot know if we shall make a difference, but we shall do our best and pray that God will bless our efforts.