Amish at Kotel 311.
(photo credit: The Western Wall Rabbi)
Representatives of the Amish community from the United States and Switzerland
paid a visit to the Western Wall on Saturday night, where they asked the Jewish
people’s forgiveness for their group’s silence during the Nazi extermination of
Jews in the Holocaust.
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Part of what made the visit special was that the Amish, a sect of the Mennonite Church that largely rejects modern technology, do not normally use contemporary forms of transportation such as the aircraft on which they made the journey to the Holy Land. It is likely that this delegation does not represent the Amish at large, rather their faction of the larger church.
But according to an
announcement issued by the office of Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, with
whom the group met, the Amish delegates saw great importance in coming to Israel
and expressing their contrition, as well as declaring their unreserved support
of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
The delegation members
stressed that they were neither seeking any kind of gesture from the Jewish
people nor looking to proselytize – only to support Israel for the simple reason
that in the past they hadn’t.
Rabinovitch was presented with various
tokens at a ceremony in the Hasmonean chamber, including a parchment with a
request for forgiveness in the name of the entire Amish community, along with a
commitment that from now on, it would loudly voice its support of the Jewish
people, especially in the wake of the expressions of hatred by Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his extensions.
The delegation left Israel on