Hero Child

Biography Barbara Rogers
Foreword: A Hero Child
Chapter 1
Table of Contents
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Published by Barabara Press



I enter a room where I have never been in my life—a synagogue
my old, learned view of life, shaped by Christian religion
portrayed this place as dead, overcome, hostile
even dangerous and evil—without life
full of narrowing laws and arrogant self-righteousness

it takes courage to enter a synagogue
my son is invited to a Bar Mitzvah
I ask if I can attend the service—I am thirty-four years old

I am so afraid to enter a synagogue
—what a taboo where I come from—this house of God
this religion, these human beings—
the religion I was taught portrayed this place as damned by God
the work of the devil—where a curse was cast
and a horrible spell created evil

I am in a room where I have never been
it is the modern, dramatic building of a liberal congregation
the service begins—the singing of the cantor moves my heart
the words of the prayer book move my soul
they hold so much truth for me—I start to cry

I believed that this was a dangerous place
without life—without wisdom—petrified in laws
but the lies I was taught by my religion and my origins
are unmasked in this place—this place is not dead
it is full of music and life, full of interesting, exciting thoughts
I hear truth
I feel at home, at one with the human beings who surround me
at one with Jews in their synagogue

the central thoughts of this service focus on
supporting conscious, responsible actions and treasuring life
no word about a last judgment, guilt, redemption through faith

I have never felt at home anywhere or with anyone in my life
here, I feel at home, listening to the values and ideas expressed
I cry through the whole service

I think about my country, Germany, where I did not know Jews
where are the synagogues? where is this form of life?
where are tolerance, soul, color
nobility of spirit and celebration of life?

the truth I have to realize takes my breath away
where I come from a unique way of life
was despised, destroyed, exterminated
where I come from this life and this culture
were expelled, banned, extinguished, murdered

I think about the religion I was taught
which indoctrinated me with blind faith and dangerous hatred
with fear of hell and a last judgment
today my path has turned further and deeper away from it
today I have left its confinements behind
today I have entered life—God’s home

as I learn more about Christianity’s contribution to anti-semitism
I am appalled
upon my return to Germany I leave the religion I was raised in

© Barbara Rogers

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Screams from Childhood