It was November 9, 1938. Starting that night and on into the next day, all across Germany Nazi mobs swept through towns intent on destroying the Jewish people, their way of life, their worship, and taking almost 100 lives. These actions were considered to be the beginning of the Holocaust. Kristallnacht, the Night of the Broken Glass, when synagogue lights throughout that country went dark (hence, “overcoming the darkness”.
About 10 years ago, to commemorate that horrible night, the Light Up the Synagogue project was begun by a friend of Gidon Ariel. Gidon, founder and CEO of Root Source, has picked up the baton, spreading the vision through a companion project, Light Up the Church. He and his team help spread the word to encourage church fellowships large and small, as well as individuals and businesses, to stand in support of their Jewish brothers and sisters by keeping the lights on throughout the night of November 9, each year.
When we heard about it we were excited to participate. So as darkness fell on our Northwest home this past November 9th, Ron and I set about turning on all our lights inside and out. Every hallway, bathroom, kitchen, dining room, living room, utility room, every porch light and bedroom light was turned on. Light spilled out of every window. Even light from the skylight shot up towards heaven like a beacon, a sword. The only room from which light didn’t directly shine forth was our bedroom where we slept. Yet, even so, the lights from the rest of the house made it plenty bright.
That night I puttered about the house preparing for bed making sure the house was tucked in as usual. Normally I turn off the lights, lock the doors, close the blinds, turn down the heater, and take one last look out at the stars before closing my eyes. This night, however, was different. I had to check myself each time I reached for a light switch. I felt uncomfortable, uneasy. The intent of leaving the lights on was having its effect. It was strange, out of my ordinary and caused me to imagine, even if only a little bit, what it must have been like on that horrible night in 1938. I was fearful that if I dared imagine too vividly, then it would happen to me, also. I wondered what the neighbors would think. Would they know why my lights stayed on all night? That I stood with Israel and the Jewish people? Would they throw eggs or tomatoes at my windows? Or otherwise vandalize my property? These really were my thoughts and I was shocked at myself, honestly, to discover them in my heart. I love the Jewish people, yet was I afraid of being counted amongst their friends?
I finally did fall asleep, but woke up very early with my first thoughts being on the people who didn’t sleep at all on that night. Or on those who never woke up. Though my experience may sound a bit dramatic, it’s nothing compared to the experience our Jewish brethren endured, and have endured in various ways and degrees throughout history. We can hide underneath our non-Jewishness, or sit quietly and obediently on our assigned pew. But if we call the Jewish people our brothers. If we love Israel, yet deny them whom our
Father loves, we break His heart. We deny Him. We must examine our hearts, and let our light shine for in Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4-5 ESV). In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 ESV).
The God of all creation is fulfilling prophecy and closing the circle with the restoration of all of His people. Please pray, get involved, and visit these websites to learn more about this very important time in our lives.
Oh, Father, break our hearts for the things that break Your heart.
B’ney Yosef North America