9 years ago today my father, Rabbi Nardus Groen passed away. Every year on this date I seem to wonder the same thing. What would he have thought of the world today? I am sure he would have been disgusted with the behavior of those who dare to call themselves human. With all his outward toughness and despite his encounters with evil, my father believed in people and the promise they held. He was a realist without being a cynic. I have no doubt that he would have seen the acts of evil being perpetuated by our enemies today and would have made that clear connection with the evil he saw committed by the Nazis. I hope and simultaneously believe he would not have lost faith in humanity as a result. The truth is, there are always more people who are good than there are people who are evil. The difference is that the evil always make more noise and are always looking to cause devastation. I was blessed to be raised by 2 people who taught me to see the good in people and the good in the world, and if there is ever a way for me to honor my mother who is alive and well at 94 and my father who I remember today, it is for me to keep my faith in humanity in check. In the process, despite the long and painful battle ahead, we only increase our chances of coming out victorious. Terrorists seek not only to frighten us, they seek to break our spirit. If there is anything I know would not have happened to my father it is a broken spirit. The Nazis didn’t do it and no evil today would have done it. I use his memory as a source of strength and conviction, knowing how he would have looked at the world today. Just one more thing to thank him for as I remember him.
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