After a wonderful study session about Jacob at the Christus Kirche in Bordesholm last night, Vickie and I arrived quite late and very tired in Husum. We are the guests of a most wonderful couple, Rita and Horst Blunk.
Last year they drove an hour each way to Kiel to attend services and study sessions that I led. Before we left to return to the USA, Horst presented me with a clock with Hebrew letters marking the hours that he had made. It has a proud place in my study at home.
When we returned to Germany this year, we learned that Horst and Rita had arranged for me to conduct, tonight, the first Jewish service in the synagogue in Friedrichsstadt since the end of World War II.
Earlier today, Vickie and I addressed some three hundred students in an assembly of Senior HS students at the Theodor-Storm Schule in Husum, which Horst had also arranged. For many of them it was the first time they had heard from a rabbi or individuals whose family members were directly affected by the horror of Nazi time.
Rita was born Jewish, but her family did not practice. By profession she is a nurse, but she moves around the kitchen with such grace and alacrity that she could have been a dancer. “The pace in the hospital, is so quick,“ she said, “that I have to move fast.”
Horst officially entered the mikvah and took on the Covenant of the Jewish people one year ago, but his Jewish journey began more than four decades earlier.
As a Christian pastor he began to explore the Jewish roots of his faith by driving 300 kilometers on a regular basis to the synagogue in Hannover. Horst’s growing love of Judaism helped Rita reclaim her spiritual identity. Today Jewish books, artwork and symbols adorn the walls of their lovely house.
On Shabbat morning Rita, Horst, Vickie, and a few others will join for Torah study in their home. I know that, as they always do, Horst and Rita will make interesting observations and raise challenging questions.
I look forward to this Shabbat with great joy!