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To Save a Life Is to Save the World – Shawna R. B. Atteberry
Apr 232007
 

I haven’t written anything about the Virginia Tech shootings because it has been so overwhelming. But last week I read this article in the Chicago Sun-Times: Holocaust Survivor Dies Shielding Class from Gunman. It tells the story of Liviu Librescu. He blocked the doorway into his classroom while his students climbed out of the windows.

After the Holocaust the Jewish people vowed never again: and not just for themselves. During Thanksgiving week the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum projected the images of Sundanese refugees on its walls—its exterior walls. There were standing in solidarity with the genocide in Darfur and saying “Enough!” Several Jewish organizations are working to stop the genocide and atrocities going on in Sudan for the same reason. They don’t want what happened to them to happen to any other ethnic group.

It wasn’t a country, but it was his class. As Liviu stood blocking the door, he was saying “Enough!” He was saying that this was not going to happen to his class. He did not let his students be gunned down. The Talmud says “To save one life is as if you have saved the world.” May be Liviu did more than just save a class—may be he saved the world.

This is The Kaddish: the Jewish Prayer of Mourning. It is prayed for the first 11 months after the death of a loved one, and then prayed on the anniversary.

Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will. May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen.

May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us
and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

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 Posted by at 3:46 pm

  8 Responses to “To Save a Life Is to Save the World”

  1. Thank you for sharing the story.

  2. Amen

  3. Thank you for letting me know you where here.

  4. Amen – thanks for this.

  5. moved to tears- thank you for sharing this.
    Sally

  6. Shawna, I am so glad you posted this.

    “Greater love has no man…” Thnak you, God, for this good man, and for the lives he saved by his sacrifice and courage.

  7. Thank you, Shawna, for this story of a teacher who was truly a good shepherd laying down his life for his sheep. It strikes home with me as a college teacher, and if I were preaching this Sunday (John 10 is always the reading for Easter IV in liturgical churches) it would be the perfect illustration.

  8. Thank you for your comments. This story touched me deeply, and I’m glad all of you felt it deeply too.

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