I’m not Jewish but I am constantly slammed for being Jewish and for being a supporter of the Jewish people. It’s possibly because I am vocal. Mostly, I get slammed by sycophant progressives because of my last names. My birth name is Gilles. My ancestors are French. My married name is Lilovich which I kept for business reasons after my second divorce. I am a Christian. I love the Jewish people.
During my senior year of high school I had a teacher named Florence Shultz. She has passed now. But, as an adult I have learned she made a huge impact on my life. She challenged how I thought growing up and led me, in part, to the person I am and the beliefs I have now. In World War II, Mrs. Schultz was a member of the United States Armed Services during World War II. I believe she was a W.A.C. and had the distinction of being on the cover of either Life or Time magazine. She brought the magazine to school one day at the beginning of our lessons on the Holocaust. I can remember being so in awe of her achievement. I found myself being immensely proud of this woman I had just met. She was anything but a feminist, yet she was strong-willed, decisive and never afraid to tell you how she felt. And, she was tough. Exceptional study and work was what she demanded in her class and mastering that was no easy feat. She nearly failed me for misplacing my textbooks at the end of my senior year. Thank God, she didn’t since I found them a couple of days before she was marking grades. But, that’s another story.
During the course of that class she taught civics, government and history. Mrs. Schultz pounded into us the duty we as Americans owed our country. One of our assignments was to debate each other over the candidates for president. So, there I was, 17-years-old debating for Ronald Reagan during his run for election to president. And, I thought I was a democrat back then. Ronald Reagan just had so many good ideas that it was difficult not to want him to win. (He was the first president I ever voted for. After casting my vote at the Gary National Bank a block from my house in Gary, Indiana, I walked home feeling so proud.) Because of this woman, there were lessons I was learning that would help me hang on to my soul life-long. I am so glad that for such a tiny period in my life, she existed.
In her class, she showed us every news reel; every documentary; every historical account available (that she could find) on film about the war and the Holocaust. In that small portable building in mid-America we sat dumbfounded and in tears as we watched the horrors unfold. Then she spoke. She spoke about what the world was like when the battles were raging. She spoke about how we would be judged as a world by what had occurred. She spoke about how the United States entered the world long past the time it should’ve. While the bombing of Pearl Harbor was what actually is credited with dragging us into the conflict, she posed to us: “Would we have sat out had that not occurred?” I didn’t understand what she meant then. But, I now think she was asking because she hoped we would come to the conclusion that maybe we wouldn’t have. And, I think she wanted that to bother us. I always wanted to ask her if she was Jewish but I never had the courage. I just chose to believe she was patriotic and teaching from experiences she hoped we would never be forced to live through yet trying to arm us with certain knowledge in case history really did try to repeat. If that is why she asked, she was right. History is repeating right now. This is why I stand with Israel. And, to me Florence Schultz was a hero. She was an American hero and I want people to know that. Her mind and her heart made a difference for many young idealist teens for good. I often wonder what she would think of Benjamin Netanyahu. I think she’d like him. I know I do.
That brings me to my next hero: the leader of Israel. (I find it profoundly sad I have to find my next hero in a land I’ve never visited and know only from photos in history. It is doubly sad that we don’t have heroes like that in America.) This is a man whose dedication and loyalty to not only his country but to his religion is incomparable. Were it not for him, Israel might only exist as a memory. He is a man who understands people. He is a man who understands duty. He is a friend to America and that can’t be easy given the hatred coming out of the political arena these days. So, I must also consider that he is also forgiving and patient. Still he, and the Jews of Israel, moreover the world, need our support.
Most conservatives know we’re living in troubled times. Most Christians, true to the teachings of Christ and the bible, recognize we’re living in the end days. Regardless of what anyone feels about religion or history, the world has become a scary place. If there was ever a time to lead and not follow, it is now. If there ever was a time to discover a true hero, one that guides you or one who will stand by you, it is now. Heroes don’t have to wear capes. Heroes don’t plot the destruction of others who are different from themselves. Heroes embrace love, kindness and often justice in the name of saving us all. Find your hero.