I missed this in November, but it's making the email rounds now... (It takes a month?!)
Amish community asks forgiveness of Jews at Kotel - Representatives take highly unusual step of using modern transportation to make journey to the Holy Land; commit to loudly supporting Jews.
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.
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....
photos from 7 Agorot ("my two cents... only in a Jewish currency")
I found this more interesting account at The Mennonite Weekly Review
.... The group Girod led to Israel in November included three Amish, 10 Mennonites from the U.S., and three Mennonites from Switzerland. Of the U.S. Mennonites, three live in Idaho and seven live in Lancaster County, Pa.
Al Longenecker, a member and deacon of Buffalo Mennonite Church in Lewisburg, Pa., learned about the trip through Bishop Hoover.
Though Longenecker had visited Israel a few times before, this trip was different. He went to reach out and repent for Mennonites’ “sin of neglect” toward Jews.
“There seems to be absolutely no written response to the Holocaust or World War II from the Mennonite church in America,” he said. “That disturbs me."
Longenecker said they repented as a group, not on behalf of all Anabaptists. The group’s statement uses broader language though:
“On this day, we, representing Anabaptist people, humble ourselves and seek your forgiveness for our collective sin of pride and selfishness by ignoring the plight of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel,” the statement says.
Longenecker acknowledged differences between the statement and the group’s intent.
The group visited various friends, government officials and Jewish rabbis, including Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch and the deputy mayor of Jerusalem.
Girod, oftentimes on his knees, presented a statement of confession and sometimes towels to symbolize footwashing. At one point, a German Baptist church with a kibbutz in Israel sang for the group.
“It was a mirror of something we would’ve done in our conservative Mennonite setting in Pennsylvania,” Longenecker said.
Now back home, Longenecker and Girod both hope reconciliation among Amish, Mennonites and Jews continues. “I see this as a foundation of beginning to recover deeply divisive situations among us,” he said.
Girod believes rejection of the Jews has led Anabaptists to lose the blessing of Abraham. "This is a step toward that blessing again."
The full statement presented by the Anabaptists to Jews in Israel is available here.
As serendipity -or Something- would have it, my inbox this morning also contained this old joke:
A female CNN journalist heard about a very old Jewish man who had been going to the Western Wall to pray, twice a day, every day, for over 55 years. She decided to check it out. She visited the Western Wall and watched him pray and after about 45 minutes, when he turned to leave, she approached him for an interview.
"Pardon me, sir, I'm Rebecca Smith from CNN. What's your name?
"Morris Feinberg," he replied.
"Sir, how long have you been coming to the Western Wall and praying?"
"For about 60 years."
"60 years! That's amazing! What do you pray for?"
"I pray for peace between the Christians, Jews and the Muslims."
"How do you feel after doing this for 60 years?"
"Like I'm talking to a f---ing wall."