Last night I went to see the Handel Society of Dartmouth College perform Annelies by James Whitbourn based on Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl I really had no idea how someone could put the diary to music. I was wondering if we were about to see Anne Frank: The Musical and if it would be something akin to Mel Brooks’ The Producers. Nothing of the sort. I was mesmerized. Over 80 singers and a full orchestra made my skin tingle and my eyes well with tears.
The most riveting and moving line of the evening for me was:
One day this terrible war will be over, and we’ll be people again,
and not just Jews. (Listen to it here: scroll down to V: Life in Hiding)
Yes! I thought. Why can’t we see each other as people? Our humanity is what we all have in common. Why must we see each other as Jews or Blacks or Poor or Ukrainian or Old or any other one-dimensional feature? We are human. We are people. Aren’t we all multi-faceted and interesting and good and flawed and trying? We all want safety and full bellies and warm beds. We all want to find love and to see our children thrive.
As I listened to NPR this morning I was struck by Sam Sanders’ report about yesterday’s horrendous attack on the Synagogue in Jerusalem by terrorists. Five dead. Four simply because they were Jewish and one police officer who responded to the scene. The four men were in the Synagogue praying, and they were attacked with meat cleavers and axes and guns. The attackers did not see that they were the fathers of 24 children between them. The attackers did not consider that these men had normal lives – that they wanted to support their families and teach their children. They did not think about the fact that they had wives at home that will cry themselves to sleep for weeks. They attacked Jews.
One day we will be people and not just Jews.
Yes Anne, one day, but not today.