(photo credit: Courtesy)
Last week my Bubi passed away. She was the last of my grandparents, who were all Holocaust survivors.
I flew to Toronto in February to see her when I realized that her health was failing and we spent time talking about our family’s history. My Bubi never liked to speak about the Holocaust, but this time she opened up more than usual.
In her attempt to describe the unimaginable she said something that stuck with me.
“Back then we didn’t have Israel. We had nothing,” she said.
This was a simple lesson that I have been taught since before I can remember and this mantra has shaped my family’s future immensely. My Bubi lived in Toronto, Canada, but her love of Israel and the G-d of Israel led my mother, Susie, to bring up her children as Zionists. We not only kept the mitzvot but we incorporated modern Israel into every facet of our lives even though we lived in the United States.
It was that love of Zion that led my sister Jenny to make aliya at the age of 22 by herself and eventually marry the love of her life, a captain in the Israel Navy. Today they have three children. Their eldest is their teenage daughter, Romi.
Brilliant and gorgeous, she is a huge source of pride to the family and in a few years she will be joining the IDF. Not only because she has to but also because she gets to.
This is just one example but in fact, my Bubi now has four grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren living in the Land of Israel. All contributing to various fields, whether it be politics, business, Torah study or medicine. That is her legacy and the story of how a 5 foot tall, barely 100 pound woman ultimately defeated the Nazis.
Next Sunday, I will travel to Berlin for 24 hours to speak to thousands of pro-Israel Christians at an event to commemorate 70 years since the end of the Holocaust. Berlin was the center of the hate and evil that led to the Holocaust.
The mere mention of the city Berlin would always cause my Bubi to shudder. Although Germany is now a close ally of Israel, I was shocked to learn that today Berlin is the city with the fastest growing Jewish population in the world.
To the Jewish communities in the Diaspora I would think that my Bubi’s words would be fairly obvious, but what many fail to understand is that the reverse is true as well.
Due to the rise of anti-Semitism and assimilation, Jews who do not have a strong connection to Israel, despite their wealth, influence and position in society abroad, in the end will ultimately have nothing.
The author is director of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus and founder and producer of Israel Now News.