Tag Archives: love

Where’s the Love?

Hamas-Children-600x350The great Golda Meir one said, “Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.” Sadly I believe we are further away from that being a reality today than any other time since that incredibly poignant statement.  As sad as it may be that they hate us even more now than they did then, is the fact that in their actions they appear to love their children even less.

Despite the impression some may have from reading my posts, I am both a hopeless romantic and a softy.  I am not a hardened bitter person.  I not only believe in love, I have always accepted it in my life.  It doesn’t matter what kind of love either, be it in romance or the type you have for good friends and family.  I am a fan of love, think its important that it exists in everyone’s life, and feel it needs to be one of the core values present for any individual and in any family or community.

So last night I had a revelation.  With the exception of one thing, the members of  Hamas and their terrorist buddies never speak of the love for anything. They certainly hate a lot, especially anything Jewish or American, but love is hardly ever mentioned.  The one thing they do proudly and openly love, is, of all things, death.

As so much of the world chooses to blame Israel for the plight of these poor children in Gaza, even with the tragedy of those killed in this recent war, the larger tragedy is the life being given to these children by those who should love them.  I am by no means presuming to say that Palestinian mothers don’t love their children, but in allowing Hamas to rule and to educate their children on the path their life should follow, they are not manifesting their love correctly. They are giving their children over to a regime that proudly states, “We love Death for Allah like Israelis love life.”

There’s a genocide going on in Gaza alright, but it’s being committed from within and by the same people using the term to generate hate against Israel and the Jews.

Golda Meir’s words were wonderful, wise and correct.  Even with that said, it would be a good start if they loved their children more than death. They need to work on that before they work on not hating us.  Until that happens there won’t be much improvement for anyone’s situation, either in Israel or in Gaza.



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What is Love?

00000007When you title an article with a question so important to so many people, you run the risk of creating the expectation that you may actually have the answer to that question.  To be fair, I am not sure I can answer it accurately having a somewhat questionable track record of my own, but I can say unequivocally that even if I am not successful in conveying in words what love is, I can say that I did have one great advantage.  In my life I had the benefit of witnessing true love.

Those of you who have read the book “Jew Face” are well aware that my characterization of the good people in the book only deals with positive aspects of their personality.  I do this purposely in order to make a clear distinction between good and evil during a time when good and evil was so pronounced and easily identifiable.  Subsequently, in discussing the relationships between people I only show the positive, possibly creating an illusion of perfection.  I have always hoped that people reading the book realize my intent and know that although I never discuss it, nothing in life is perfect.  This is important when writing this piece, because although I have no intention of documenting specifics, I want to make clear that the relationship between my mother and father was like everything else in life.  Not perfect.

However, now that I got that out of the way, let me explain why I am convinced that in my life I did indeed have the opportunity to witness true love.  Love means different things to different people.  To many it is based in romance and intimacy.  Sometimes we know when these things exist between two people but often those are aspects people keep entirely private.  Even when we do think we know, we only know what the people allow us to see.  There are other things that are far more open and many would say more important, that truly define love.  These things are sacrifice, commitment, loyalty and companionship.  Many will say that these are the factors that truly matter, because when the excitement fades, the body ages and the looks dwindle, without something deeper, what masqueraded as love reveals itself as nothing more than infatuation and desire.

Spend 64 years with someone and inevitably you will at one time or another disagree, argue, yell, and hurt each other.  In fact, there are many who would say that without those things happening you won’t make it to 64 years.  My mother and father did.   In the wedding vows it says, “for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health”.   The greatness in these vows all comes together with the famous words, “until death do us part”.  Life is a lot easier when things are better, people are richer, and everyone is healthy.  But when presented with life’s difficulties, those who truly stay together until death parts them, being true companions who build something and are committed to their life together, they know a love far more profound and real than what most Hollywood romances portray.  In my life, in my parents, I saw this love.

I’ve always enjoyed summing it up this way.  During the horrors of the Nazi occupation my father saved my mother’s life.  My mother saved my father’s life every day since.  And although it was not perfect, it took the death of my father in June of 2007 to part them.  Make no mistake, the book “Jew Face” is very much a love story, focusing on the budding romance between my mother and father and building the foundation for a long life together that was filled with the better, the worse, richer, poorer, sickness and health.  So on this Valentine’s Day when buying flowers or a fancy gift, or when buying an expensive meal or gift for the one you love, remember the lesson of my parents and strive for a love that lasts, not just one that feels good today, because that is where the ultimate rewards truly can be found.  What is love?  It’s not easy.  But when you see it in action you end up feeling it is worth the effort and something worth believing in.

For all those who need hope…

To all those in Israel, Holland, England, Australia, Germany, France, India, Pakistan, Singapore,  Sweden, Philipines,  Spain, Poland, and of course the United States of America who are viewing my blog, THANK YOU!

Now tell all your friends and tell them to tell all of theirs.  Let them know about the book Jew Face.  I look around and see many people today who have lost hope because of everyday difficulties and struggles and hope that knowing this story will help in some way.  Everyone needs inspiration and those who have read the book so far have at the very least seen how people can come from the worst situation, the brink of personal devastation, and built a life of joy, fulfillment, and love.

So tell your friends.  Let them have the opportunity to decide if they want to reap the benefits of this story.

The love story in Jew Face

In a random conversation earlier today, after mentioning my book, I jokingly suggested to a young woman that I should promote Jew Face as the perfect book to read upon completing Fifty Shades of Grey.  She grinned slightly and lifted up the book she was reading, Fifty Shades Darker, the second in the Fifty Shades trilogy.  I proceeded to ask her what would cause her to be drawn to my book.  She responded with the words, “if it was a love story”.

Well for those of you wondering, Jew Face is the story of a woman unable to move safely in her home town of Amsterdam due to what in those days in that city was her very Jewish face, and a Jewish man who looked like a regular Dutchman, who took it upon himself to see to her safety regardless of the danger involved.  His emerging love for the woman and her initial trust and faith that steadily turned into a deep and long lasting love is the foundation of the entire story.

So for those looking for a love story, there is a reason the subtitle is  “A story of love and heroism in Nazi-occupied Holland.”  This story revolves around so many different aspects, with love very much in the forefront.

How it all connects

In this post, for those who are not more directly connected, I am going to explain why things are as they are on this blog.  For example, how does Yom Hazikaron, Day of Remembrance, a day to remember those who sacrificed their lives for the State of Israel, tie in to the book Jew Face.  No post on this site is random.  The origin of it all goes deeper than the book itself.

Jew Face, as the cover says, is a story of love and heroism in Nazi-occupied Holland.  The love story between my parents and their heroic acts and behavior, Nardus and Sipora Groen is the main subject matter of the book and naturally will lead to many posts surrounding them and the life they lead.  Expanding it further the book discusses the heroism of various people, Jewish and non-Jewish throughout the 5 years of occupation.  Those active in the Dutch resistance will be discussed frequently and as in as much depth as possible with the main focus being on the righteousness of Lubertus and Geeske te Kiefte.

When you peel away another layer however the function of the blog goes much deeper and maybe requires explanation.  Three years after the Jewish people experienced the devastating horrors of the Holocaust, the Jewish State of Israel was formed.  Jews all over the world declared “Never Again” and have felt a sense of security knowing that there is a Jewish state willing to defend the lives of Jewish people all over the world regardless of their practical support for the nation.  The mere existence of this state gives an added strength to that cry of “Never Again”, and every life that is lost in defense of this state is a life that was sacrificed to protect the Jewish people.

When writing a book like Jew Face, a book about what 2 people experienced, as a Jew myself it is impossible to ignore the deeper importance of the story. The origin is the history and future of the Jewish people together with a hopeful betterment of mankind.    May God always bless those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Life That Was Not Lived

The following  piece written by my father of blessed memory is the Foreword for the book “Jew Face: A story of love and heroism in Nazi-occupied Holland.” It is extremely appropriate for Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day).

by Rabbi Nardus Groen, of blessed memory

The life that was not lived:

This is the story of two people whose experiences cannot be seen as
separated from one another. At the same time, it includes a multitude of people
whose story will never be told. We therefore consider it a privilege as well as a
duty to share with you some of the 4,380 days of our being on this earth.
Existence is more or less a state of exposure. Life, on the other hand,
is a matter of faith. If there was such a thing, my choice would be for
something in between. Some attributes may be applied to it, and others
may not fit the shoe.

We may in the course of it meet people who, for whatever it’s worth,
may be portrayed as heroes, while others are cowards, pacifists, or activists.
They are all the products of mankind. For them, there will always be a
place under the sun (with the exception of the traitor). But being as we are
a homogenous society, no one can ever be left out. And as it is by the very
inclination of the human race, the dark shadow of the wicked will play an
overpowering role in leaving behind the marks in the way of scars brought
upon them by society.

If the worst could ever be turned into good, the only lesson to be learned
of that is, never ever forget. For in the past lay the present, and in the present
the future. Without that, we will be repeating our mistakes and shortcomings,
and as a result the world will not be the place it was created to be.

In order to live, you still have to be able to somehow believe in the
goodness of mankind. In that light, we will start with our first words to
describe that which has been and never should have been.

Complete List of Names in the book “Jew Face”

Now you can find a complete listing of every name mentioned in the book “Jew Face: A story of love and heroism in Nazi-occupied Holland”.  Check back regularly as links will be added to provide more information about the most relevant characters in the book.

To go to the Page CLICK HERE or click the header on the Home Page of the site.