Tuesday, April 23, 2013

John Fischer on Hebrews 13:13's "Let us go outside the camp"

Rabbi Dr. John Fischer writes in one of his chapters (entitled "Yes, We Do Need Messianic Congregations!") of Zondervan's 2003 release How Jewish Is Christianity?: 2 Views on the Messianic Movement (p. 54):
The phrase "outside the camp" ... is misconstrued and therefore misused. "Outside the camp" in Exodus 33:7 describes the very heart of Judaism, the original Test of Meeting. when God revealed himself to his people at Mount Sinai, he met them "out of the camp (Exodus 19:17). "Outside the camp" is the place of ceremonial cleansing with the ashes of the red heifer (Numbers 19:9) and the location of significant elements of the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) ritual, as the bodies of the sacrifices are taken here and the scapegoat is released here (Leviticus 16:21-22, 27). So "outside the camp" serves as the core of Judaism and does not imply a separation from it.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Local student publishes graphic novel set during the Holocaust

I was very impressed by Christopher Huh, a local seventh-grader whose response to learning about the Holocaust was to create a graphic novel. From Washington Jewish Week:
Photo from
Washington Jewish Week,
attributed to Dahlia Huh

When Christopher Huh's seventh-grade history class turned to the topic of the Holocaust, the thirteen-year-old was riveted. The story of the systematic persecution and attempted genocide by the Nazis of Jews and other groups shocked him deeply.
"I had never seen anything like it," Huh said. 
The class completed their unit on the subject and moved on, but Huh still had it on his mind. He started checking out books and looking up information online about the Holocaust, the Nazi movement and related subjects, amassing more and more knowledge as he went. 
"I was very interested in learning more about the Holocaust," he said.
Huh wanted to express his feelings about what he had learned as well as organize some of what he learned in a way that would be easy to understand. He turned to the idea of drawing, one of his other interests, as a way to do just that, creating an illustrated fictional account of a Holocaust survivor and his family. 
"It helped a lot with remembering what I learned," he said. 
"We stood speechless at what we saw.
(from page 25)"
As the story he created began to grow, Huh showed some of his story to friends and family, who encouraged him to work on it more and turn it into a whole book, something he could share with others, especially others his age. 
"I wanted to share what I had learned," he said. 
A year and a half later, Huh's book, titled Keeping My Hope, was complete. The book is the result of long hours of reading, museum visits and other research as well as countless hours of illustration that took a lot of dedication Huh remarked. 
"I went to the drawing board that I have every day and drew," he said. 
"(from page 78)"
Keeping My Hope tells the story of Ari, a teenager in Poland when the Nazis come to power, and of the upheavals he and his family experience as they face the daily horrors of the Holocaust. The story is told by the much older Ari to his granddaughter in a first-person account that lends real immediacy to the story that although fictionalized comes from the all too true trials that millions faced. Ari's story covers many aspects of life for Jews under the Holocaust. Propoganda, ghettoization and life in the concentration camps are all discussed. 
"So many terrible things happened, I still find it hard to understand," Huh said. 
Even more than the basic facts, the hardship of daily life, dealing with the black market and how the Nazi's forced some concentration camp inmates to do some of the looting of the prisoners are all a part of the story. The corruption of the Nazi regime was one of the many aspects of the story that Huh said he found particularly interesting to learn and write about in his book. 
Huh said he plans to keep writing and drawing in the future and would like to see his book perhaps make its way into the curriculum of Montgomery County schools as a way to get and keep students interested when they study the Holocaust. 
"It's really important to keep people from forgetting what happened," he said.

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