Wherever I Stand, I Stand With Israel
By Uta Hentsch
In July 1996, I visited the guesthouse Beth El of the charitable organisation ZEDAKAH at Shavei Zion. It wasn't in my intention, but 6 months later I realised that it was G-d's intention to show me this wonderful place in the beginning of August 1996!
On Sunday, January 19th 1997, the birthday verse for the previous week of my congregation was the following:
Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.
This verse seemed to convey a message especially for me. I was expecting the answer from G-d about choosing the date for my retirement and what was to follow.
On February 23rd, Dr. Alice N. from Nahariya gave a speech in our congregation and called on us to come and help the charitable organisation ZEDAKAH-Israel.
In March, I went on my third visit to Israel. We stayed at Shavei Zion for nearly a week and had Bible classes with Hans Bayer, the head of ZEDAKAH-Israel. He introduced us to the homes of Beth El in Shavei Zion and Beth Eliezer in Maalot, both run by ZEDAKAH-Israel.
During this visit, I met Leah, who invited me for a lovely German filter coffee and a large plate of with Shabbat cake. Whenever I arrive in Israel, I spend every spare moment with Leah. For the third time I was in Israel and received a special gift, this time from a Jewess.
In summer 1997 I had a talk with a couple of new members in our congregation who worked as volunteers in Maalot. I realised that there was a special reason why I was so clearly introduced to Israel. It dawned on me that it was G-d Himself who initiated the steps, which now guide my way.
In spring 1998 I took part in a special journey to celebrate Israel's "Golden 50th year", which deepened my relationship with the Jewish state and the Jewish people. The focal point of this visit was the history of the State of Israel, from Theodor Herzl's first Zionist congress in Basel to the 50th anniversary of the State. I started looking closer at the history of Israel from the beginning / middle of the 19th century. This led me to the recognition of facts which contradict current "world opinion". I soon realised that the media would repeat the lie over and over until it was accepted as the truth, serving to further the unchallenged anti-Jewish / anti-Israel world opinion, with fatal results to Israel.
In 1999, a new phase of my life has started. As I was looking for an important document, I discovered my confirmation certificate, including Proverbs 3,5-6. I had no doubt that G-d had been talking to me very clearly for quite some time!
On April 30th 1999 I retired from my professional life and became a volunteer of ZEDAKAK-Israel (justice-welfare) at the guesthouse for Holocaust Survivors, Beth El at Shavei Zion. I stayed in Israel for over a year. A skin disorder, which worsened at the beginning of my service, was treated in October 2000 by a dermatologist at Rambam hospital in Haifa. However, the date for my return to Germany could not be postponed. The Holy One guided my way and the time I served the survivors of His people was the best. I could fill a book with stories of my meetings and experiences during that period. I have heard first hand so many human tragedies, but never felt any bad feelings against me as a German Christian. On the contrary, our guests only offered their love, and for a year and a half, I was undoubtedly the recipient of their gifts.
Since October 13th 1989, the most important day of my life, my steps were guided by the Eternal One. If I speak today of my Lord Jeshua HaMashiach, I do it out of the knowledge of my Jewish religious roots. I am able to see it through no merit of mine, but through a gift from G-d. My experience can be found in Psalm 103. The Psalm begins and ends with the same words:
Praise the Lord my soul!
and reminds me:
and not forget the blessing He has bestowed upon you!
Leaving my self and listening to the Lord enables me to follow my calling from G-d the Holy One of Israel and know the meaning of
Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your G-d
There are many ways to answer this calling. Sometimes there is a report in "Hadashot Israel", the only German language newspaper in Israel. There are many ways to support Israel in Germany, from television and radio programmes to the print media. Supporting Israel is also important within my own congregation and, praise the Lord, we have Israel evenings and an Israel page in our community newsletter.
Since December 2000, I went on many visits to Israel and struck many friendships there. In 2001 , following an appeal by a Jerusalem based journalist, I paid a solidarity visit to the city of Ariel, in the biblical land of Samaria and stayed at the "Eshel Hashomron" hotel.
Since then, a voluntary group of German friends of Israel participates in summer seminars in Ariel, and organises lectures in Germany by Tuvia Gelbard, the manager of Hotel Eshel Hashomron. During his first lecture tour, the hotel was attacked by terrorists (March 7th 2002). Tuvia immediately returned home and trusted me to hold the next three lectures on his behalf.
In Ariel, I met Mirry Reich, who established the connection with Ehud Tokatly, the editor of "HopeWays". The meeting with Mirry is a very special story in itself! In spring 2004 I took a basic Hebrew course in Jerusalem.
In November 2003, I was elected chairperson of our organisation "The Bisingen Concentration Camp Memorial", and we have many plans of actions, including organising various exhibitions and improving the memorial site at the concentration camp.
With gratitude for the wonderful and demanding tasks the Eternal One has set for me, I praise G-d - baruch HaShem - and pray that He may give me success in bringing my first group to Israel in 2005.
So long as I am able to, I will for the
sake of the house of the Lord, Our G-d, seek the best for Israel.
Bisingen, Zollernalbkreis, Schwaebische Alb, Germany, September 2004
Translated from German by Yohanan Grossman, Accredited Interpreter, Berlin, Germany
Read about Hechingen: Where Dreams Come True
Read about Jewish Life at Haigerloch:
Read about the Christian Declaration of Berlin, 11/September/2004.
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