Week 1: Righteous Gentiles?
Who are the righteous gentiles? What does this concept mean in Jewish tradition? We begin our exploration with a look at some ancient Hebrew allies, and at the role various countries played in the rescue of Jews from the Nazis.
Week 2: The Child Rescuers: Shifrah, Puah and the Pharaoh’s Daughter.
The Hebrew midwives refused to comply with the Pharaoh’s order to kill Hebrew male infants at birth. His own daughter rescued the future prophet, Moses, from the Nile and took him into the palace to be raised under the protection of his people’s enemy. What do these women have in common with the likes of Irena Sendler, Kate Lipner, Lois Gunden and others who hid Jewish children from the Nazis?
Week 3: Family Ties: Jethro and Tzipporah, Moses’ Midianite Family
Jethro was a priest of Midian and Moses’ loyal and wise father-in-law. Advisor, confidante and friend, he is a pivotal character in the Exodus story and one of the few non-Israelites for whom a Torah portion is named. Tzipporah, Jethro’s daughter, plays a pivotal role in the fulfillment of Moses’ prophetic mission.
Week 4: Rahav, the Spies and Hiders of Jews
What kind of person risks their own life and lives of their family for the sake of strangers? Joshua’s men are wanted men—the King of Jericho is on the hunt for them, but they have been hidden by Rahav. Her defiance of local authorities helps Joshua to complete his mission. She is a biblical parallel for those who defied their own governments and Nazi invaders, hiding Jews in their midst to spare them from the gas chambers.
Week 5: Traitors Within the Ranks
Yael, the Kenite woman, assassinated one of her own generals to prevent Israel from being overrun. We look at this extraordinary biblical character and modern historical counterparts like Corrie ben Boom and Major Karl Plagge, who similarly defied Nazi authorities and even killed to save Jews.
Week 6: Ruth the Moabite and Cyrus, King of Persia
Way back in Genesis, Israelites learn that they are forbidden to marry Moabites, yet this Moabite woman was loyal to her Israelite mother-in-law and established the Davidic line, which is central to both Jewish and Christian eschatology. Cyrus defeated the Babylonians and paved the way for the restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem. We look at some modern parallels of world leaders who played role in the re-establishment of Israel in the 20th century.