christians praying-1

When I was eight, maybe nine years old, I remember thumbing through an old family photo album.

Looking at pictures of my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and baby pictures of my siblings and me, I suddenly spotted a picture I had never seen before.

It was a picture of a young man and woman, and three small children.

I ran to my mother.

“Who are these people?” I asked.

My mother looked at the picture, and then turned away.

“It’s my cousin, Chaya Rivka, and her husband Yaakov (Jacob) Shlomo, and their three children.”

I asked my mother where they lived now, and wondered why I had never met them.

My mother was quiet for a moment.

Finally, she told me that they were no longer alive.

Very curious, I pressed for details.

Another moment of silence. And then she said, with a terrible sadness:

“They were killed by the Nazis.”

My mother, together with her parents and her siblings, had all left Kovno, Lithuania (which was then part of the Soviet Union) for America in the late 1920’s.

But Chaya Rivka and her family had remained in Lithuania.

In the summer of 1940, when the Germans entered the city of Kovno, between ten and fifteen thousand Jews – men, women and children – were rounded up, taken to the outskirts of the city, and executed by machine gun fire.

Chaya Rivka, her husband and their three children were among them.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about Chaya Rivka and her family, with the almost daily reports of innocent Christians in the Middle East, and Africa, being murdered in unspeakably horrific atrocities.

I would like to believe that the world has learned something since the dark days of World War II.

But, where are the world leaders? Where is the U.N.? Why is this genocide not being stopped?

When my mother passed away, and my siblings and I went through her belongings, I found an old, tattered prayer book, published in Lithuania.

It was inscribed: “To my dearest cousin: We shall be best friends forever — Chaya Rivka”

As the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz cried, as she melted, “Oh, what a world. What a world.”

Via WSJ: Walter Russell Mead — The Plight of the Middle East’s Christians

The Christian communities of Syria and Iraq have survived 2,000 years of tumult and war. In some of them, prayers are still said in Aramaic, the language that Jesus used in daily life. These communities now tremble on the brink of destruction.

The numbers are stark. Almost 1.5 million Christians lived in Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Between the U.S.-led invasion that toppled his regime in 2003 and the rise of Islamic State, three-fourths of the country’s Christians are believed to have fled Iraq or died in sectarian conflict. The carnage continues. Of the 300,000 Christians remaining in 2014, some 125,000 have been driven from their homes within the past year….

Almost a third of Syrians were Christian as recently as the 1920s, but only about 10% of the country’s 22 million inhabitants at the onset of the current civil war were members of Christian communities….

The conscience of the West has been slow to wake to the peril of the dwindling minorities of the Middle East (including non-Christians such as the Yazidis, as well as the persecuted Baha’i of Iran and the Ahmadis of Pakistan), but Islamic State is changing that….

This is a very good thing, but advocates for the Christians and other endangered Middle East minorities must think hard about the available options. We must choose from among three courses of action.

We can help the region’s minorities “fort up,” as the Israelis, Kurds and Maronites have done. We can help them to escape and work with friends and allies around the world to help them find new homes and start new lives. Or we can do what history suggests, alas, as our most probable course: We can wring our hands and weep piously as the ancient Christian communities in Syria and Iraq are murdered, raped and starved into oblivion, one by one.

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7 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. Alain41 says:

    Thank you for sharing, Shifra. Bless them.

    Yes, it is horrible that Christians are being targeted and little is being said. I don’t have much hope for current leadership. Obama is a thug who will retaliate against any world leader who trys to step out without his approval. The G7 meeting the end of this week is being held in Bavaria at the famous castle built by ‘Mad’ King Ludwig II. (The King lived in a fantasy world but wasn’t really insane. He was declared insane so he could be deposed which he was and then he was killed days later (cause of death or whether it was murder have never been established).)

    Building the castle bankrupted Bavaria which is why he was deposed. Ludwig was a major benefactor of Richard Wagner. So the G7 is meeting in a castle that bankrupted the country built for an extremely talented and virulent anti-semite. That’s got to scare the Islamic terrorists. Not.

  2. MACVEL says:

    Perhaps the world turns a blind eye because these deaths are what the leaders want, one leader especially in mind…

  3. pamelarice says:

    A global atrocity of “looking away” – The world looked away with the genocide of the Jews, and the world looks away now with the genocide of the Middle East and African Christians. “Humanity” will be held accountable for this atrocity, if not in this world, then the next.

  4. midget says:

    I’m sorry for your loss Shifra and for the families suffering all over the mideast.
    We are so blessed in this country to have our freedoms, at least for now….
    The world stands silent but we can shout at least with our prayers.

  5. Rob_W says:

    Thanks for sharing, Shifra. The horrors are all too real when friends and family are affected. We can only imagine the pain and sorrow your family and so many others felt. Our hearts go out to them.

    A crucial difference today is the technology to inform and educate like never before. As Tammy says, “information is power”. It gives us a fighting chance. As freedom’s beneficiaries, we have an obligation to do what we can for those under attack, and to honor those who have gone before us.

  6. Dave says:

    I am a devoted Christian and I find the silence deafening. This proposed slaughter of Christians and Jews is a Satanic doctrine that has always been foremost in the mind of Lucifer from the start the start. The only thing I can say is, you can kill me but you can’t hurt me.

  7. ancientwrrior says:

    Shifra my lady, it seems that we have not learned the lessons of history, and thus are condemned to repeat them. Seems like every new generation removed from the horrors of war and genocide get further away from them and thus, forget what we should remember. As long as we keep electing leaders who are shortsighted and think only of themselves and their greed, we will forget. May God have mercy on us because of our stupid arrogance. Will we ever learn? 🙁

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