Shavuot means weeks and it is one of the feasts of the LORD mentioned in the Torah. The Torah does not tell us much about Shavuot other than that it comes seven weeks after the wave sheaf offering which took place on the second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The wave sheaf was the first grains of the harvest. They were lifted up to heaven in a show of thanksgiving for the harvest to come. The spring harvest would then commence and last seven weeks until. It is from this sevenweek time period that Shavuot gets its name. In Greek it is called Pentecost from the Greek word penta, meaning fifty. Seven weeks is forty-nine days; when you include the day of the wave sheaf it is fifty days. In Biblical times people came to the Temple in Jerusalem and gave the tithe and offerings of their harvest to the LORD.

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Out of the tears of the Shoah God birthed the modern nation of Israel.  On May 14, 1948 David Ben-Gurion proclaimed Israel an independent nation.  Israel's Independence Day, Yom Ha-Atzmaut, is celebrated each year on the fifth day of the Hebrew month of Iyar.  In 1897, Theodor Herzl called together the first Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland to promote the idea of the Jewish people having their own country in the land of Israel.

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(CNN) - ...almost 70 years after his village in Poland was liberated by the Soviet army, Leon Gersten is meeting the man who is the Oskar Schindler of his own life: Czeslaw Polziec.  ... Polziec is Catholic. His family secretly sheltered Gersten in rural Poland for two years during World War II.

As though such a reunion between survivor and rescuer were not emotional enough, this one is taking place Wednesday on the eve of Hanukkah, which coincides this year with Thanksgiving. Two celebrations of gratitude.

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warsaw ghettoBetween July 22 and September 12, 1942, the German authorities deported or murdered around 300,000 Jews in the Warsaw ghetto. SS and police units deported 265,000 Jews to the Treblinka killing center and 11,580 to forced-labor camps.

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Gertrud Luckner was born in the year 1900 in Liverpool.  Soon she comprehended the reach of the anti-Semite threat by the National-socialist dictatorship. Since 1938 she had been an employee at the Caritas German Association, after having turned from the Quakers to Catholicism. That was an important condition for her assistance, since the agreement between the Holy See and the German Reich of the year 1933 protected the Caritas activity. From 1940 Gertrud Luckner sent packages to Jews deported from Stettin to Lublin, and later on to the Jews from southern Germany deported to Gurs.

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raoul wallenbergWith his only weapons being ingenuity, an authoritative air, a savvy understanding of the enemy, and most of all unflinching courage, Raoul Wallenberg managed to save an estimated 100,000 Hungarian Jews from Hitler's gas chambers during the waning months of World War II.

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