At age 100, Miep Gies died on Monday, January 11, in the Netherlands.
A woman who acted with courage and conviction, we should all recognize her name and pause a moment to remember her, yet I fear that for many, the name Miep Gies doesn’t ring a bell and her passing might go unnoticed.
Miep Gies was part of a small group that stood up to the Nazis and by their actions proclaimed that it was worth risking their own lives to preserve the lives of others. It was Miep Gies and her friends who hid Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis, and she was the one who returned to the attic rooms to rescue and preserve the young girl’s diary. She was the last survivor of that dedicated group of righteous souls.
Although Miep Gies and her group were not Jewish, they understood and lived by the Jewish precept that the preservation of a life is one of the most important things a person can do. It is not a choice. It is an obligation.
Today, we, too, can save lives; and, unlike Miep Gies, we do not have to put our own lives on the line to do it.
Through our Jewish Community of Louisville and the network of Jewish communities around the world, we can provide food for the hungry, clothes for the indigent, heat, medication and shelter. We can also improve the quality of life for many.
In Louisville, Jewish Family & Career Services maintains a food pantry to ensure that no one has to go to bed hungry. JFCS helps those who have lost jobs and homes access the resources they need to get back on their feet; and they provide counseling to help people through rough times. They help people overcome addictions and much more.
You can help JFCS save and improve lives by supporting JCL’s Annual Campaign.
JCL’s kosher lunch program for seniors and the kosher meals-on-wheels program, both at the Jewish Community Center help ensure that seniors with limited incomes have good hot meals at least once a day, five days a week. Special programs designed to help seniors keep fit, can also add years to their lives. Other programs improve the quality of life for young children, teens and families.
You can help the JCL save and improve lives through the JCC by supporting the Annual Campaign.
In Israel, the government cannot provide all the social services needed to resettle immigrants, provide for children from dysfunctional families, care for the aged and the disabled and provide counseling for the victims of terrorism. Jewish Agency for Israel programs operate throughout the country to address these kinds of problems.
From programs in the Western Galilee, our Partnership with Israel region, like Beit Hagalgalim, a program the helps disabled youngsters reach their full potential, and Hafuch al Hafuch, a coffeehouse style counseling program that gives teens who have dropped out of school a second chance at life, to counseling for the residents of S’derot, JAFI is there.
You can help JAFI save and improve lives by supporting the Annual Campaign.
In the former Soviet Union, in Ethiopia, in Cuba, India and Morocco – wherever there are Jews at risk, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is there to provide whatever help is needed, from heating oil to keep the Russian winter cold from freezing people in their homes to food packages to help in rediscovering Judaism, JDC is there.
You can help JDC save and improve lives by supporting the Annual Campaign.
This year, let’s demonstrate that like Miep Gies, we have learned the importance of pikuah nefesh, the preservation of life, by giving generously to the JCL Annual Campaign.