2013 March of Remembrance Update

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, we want to update you all on the plans for the 2013 March of Remembrance Houston.  If you haven’t seen the recap video from the day you can view it online.

2012 recap

Looking back on the 2012 event, it was such an amazing day and we are grateful that you chose to spend it with us.  When we began planning, we had no idea how many people would come.  After all, it was held in the outer limits of the city of Houston in Kingwood, which isn’t known for a large Jewish population.

Would people come?  Would people care?

You cared and you came.

You came from organizations (over 70) all over Houston, from as far away as Garland, TX, to the far reaches of Kingwood to say:

“Never Again”  and

 

“For Zion’s sake, I will not be silent”  (Isaiah 62:1)

2012 participants
Our goal was to have enough people with a heart for the Jewish people and Israel that our first year effort would be a significant statement.

Marches were held in over sixty cities in the U.S this past year.  The larger marches averaged between 100 and 200 people.  The national march held in Washington D.C. during severe weather had 150.

Between the march and the memorial service, we had close to 1,000 people.

Yes, it was a day to remember.

I’ll be honest.  As one of the organizers, I indulged myself in feeling smug for a minute (okay maybe for two.)

But I realized that it wasn’t about any of us on the organizing team.  The difference between our march and every other one that I saw was that the others were put on by one church or onesynagogue or one organization.  While our march had many that came together in unity.

Even before anything had taken enough form to promote, when the vision came, Rabbi DanPastor RodRabbi Mort, and Pastor Winston all said, “Yes, we will support this.”

When Rozalie went to Father Borski and asked if he would host it, right when Lent was starting and he said yes, that was a big deal and a major commitment.

I want you to grasp the magnitude of this.  A little Jewish chick goes up to a Catholic priest and tells him that God showed her in a vision that he was to host a Holocaust March of Remembrance.

Once you’ve pictured that in your mind, add in the fact that this is literally weeks before the event is supposed to take place, no one has done it in Houston before, and the whole Jewish and Israel thing is a very touchy subject for many people.

Also, keep in mind that this is all taking place right before Easter.   Now any pastor will tell you that Easter is their busiest time of year with higher attendances than even Christmas.  As Protestants, we celebrate Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, and if a church is really into it, they may have a special ceremony for Palm Sunday and observe Holy Week.

But this is the Catholic church.  This isn’t a few days or even a week of observance.  We asked right in the middle of the most active season of religious observance in their entire year.

And he said yes.  

In the middle of the busiest time, with duties to a congregation of over 6,000, with everything else they had going on, he said yes and committed not only to take a stand but to commit the time and resources of his church to do so.

I don’t mean to diminish all the other leaders who also came forward to support the march and participate, but it means something and is significant to be the first to stand up and be counted when you don’t know what it will look like and if anyone else will also step forward or if you will have to stand alone.

So we thank Father Borski for taking the lead and also for committing his church for the 2013 March.

Talking to people afterward 2013, what struck me was how different things made the biggest impact on different people.

For my mom, it was when Rabbi Dan and Father Borski lit the candle in unity.

For Rozalie, it was when the Holocaust survivors and the Nazi descendants reconciled.

For me, it was the reading of the Kaddish (the first time I had heard it) with the entire congregation proclaiming God’svictory over the grave.

It really was a day to remember.

But even more than that individual day, it brought a sense of togetherness and of unity to our Kingwood community.  All the different congregations of all denominations who came together with a single focus to say, “We will stand behind God’s special people.”

This is the people that God chose to show himself through his goodness, his faithfulness, his righteousness, his discipline, and ultimately his salvation.

As Christians, we strive to be closer to the Father’s heart, to see as he sees, and to yearn after his desires.  When he says of Israel and the Jewish people,

“I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3).

We know to take heed.

Because just as the plan of salvation was given first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles (Romans 2:10,) when the Enemy attempts to strike at the heart of God, he attacks first the Jews and then to the rest of God’s children (Galatians 4:4-7.)

So it is dually important that we attend to the attacks on the Jewish people, for if we ignore the signs of present-day anti-semitism, what befalls the Jews will then befall us, just as five million Gentiles were murdered in the Holocaust in addition to six million Jews,

Which brings us to the focus of the 2013 March of Remembrance:  Recognizing the Signs.

There are many occurrences to be concerned about.  In 2009, a report was released stating that anti-semitism was at its highest rate since the close of World War II.  This year, the ADL released a study stating that anti-semitism remained at “disturbingly high levels.”

“In Hungary, Spain and Poland the numbers for anti-Semitic attitudes are literally off-the-charts and demand a serious response from political, civic and religious leaders,”

Yes, the numbers are frightening and demand a response.

Just this month, ten thousand marched in Hungary in response to the leader of the Jobbik party in parliament calling for a list of:

“how many people of Jewish origin there are here, especially in the Hungarian parliament and the Hungarian government, who represent a certain national security risk.”

As in Germany in the 1930, persecution is never restricted to one group.  The same Jobbik leader had already attacked the Roma minority in 2010.   The Prime Ministry of Hungary did not disavow those remarks until after the march over a week later.

Incidents happening today are all frighteningly similar to actions taken in Germany and in Spain during the rise of the Nazi party.  Pay close attention to escalation of the actionstaken against the Jews in Germany.  It began with the restriction of their religious exercise.

Most of those in Germany, both Jews and Christians, did notrecognize the signs until it was too late and paid a heavy, heavy price.  We know the hell-inspired horror that was wrought.

The Holocaust is a terrible example the consequences of not taking a stand soon enough.

“All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”  Edmund Burke

In contrast is another period of Jewish history, the age of the Maccabees.  The festival of Hanukkah, which ended a week ago Saturday, was a celebration of God’s show of faithfulness after the Jewish victory over Antiochus IV who had tried to force the Jews to give up their worship.  The defilement of God’s temple was the final straw and one family, the Maccabees, took a stand to say. “Enough.”

I won’t go into the whole history as this email is long enough, but the victory of the Maccabees and God’s faithfulness in the miracle of Hanukkah is another example that great change always starts with just one.  One family to say, “Enough,” one person to be a rescuer, one person to take a stand.

2013 March of Remembrance Houston

If you’ve read this far, you are interested enough to care.

As I said at the beginning of this email, last year’s march, which you were a part of, was an awesome day.  How could we not want to do it again?

As awesome as the day was, let me tell you, being part of the planning and seeing God bring the pieces together was even more amazing.

To set the stage for the vision for 2013, let me reiterate that the March bonded the church body in Kingwood.  We weren’t separate denominations, but a unit.  It was our Catholic priest,our Methodist pastor, our Lutheran minister.

Our community came together.

Someone once told me, “Houston is a big city made up of a lot of small communities.”  And this is very true.  Kingwood is just one of those small communities.

When going forward from such a success that the march was last year, how do you put something together that is representative of such a diverse city?

How the blueprint for 2013 March came about is a story for another day, but let me say it came through much prayer and several confirmations.

The Kingwood march will be held again on Saturday, April 6th; however, it will not be the only Houston march.  We will have six marches on Saturday held at churches in different communities/gateways to the city, the locations forming the points of the Star of David.

On Sunday, April 7th, the seventh march will be held at the center of town beginning at the The Church at Bethel’s Family led by Pastor Walter August.

The Kingwood march is in place and the plans are in progress.  Pastor August has committed to the Sunday March.  We are planning an awareness lunch with key leaders in the city.

What We Need

We hope you will join us again this year in marching.  But more than that, I am hoping that you who experienced it last year willhelp us fill in the remaining points of the star.

We are talking to pastors in the North and the South; however, it is one thing to explain it . . . you walked it.

I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.  Ezekiel 22:30

Will You Stand in the Gap?

If you are in a church and feel the fire to be the rallying point in your community for a march, if you will be the Father Borski of your area to be the first to commit to the march, please contact us.

We have the format and will provide the framework for you to put on your march.  Is it a commitment?  Yes.  But we have the foundation laid for you to build on.

Spread the News

If you can’t be the one to host the march, we hope that you will support the one in your area.  Tell your friends, like the Facebook page, and share the posts.

Also, if you would like to spread awareness, educate about the Holocaust, as well as help promote the march, we are looking for platforms for Holocaust survivors to speak to tell their story in the weeks leading up to the March weekend.  This may be at a church, a school, or an organization meeting.  Please contact us for more details.

Thank you for taking the time to read this email.

As we finish the Festival of Lights and prepare to celebrate the birth of the Light of the world, I wish you and yours peace.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
and he is the glory of your people Israel.  Luke 2:30-32

Carla Alvarez
March of Remembrance Marketing Coordinator