An Anne Frank Sabbath

Without realizing what I was doing, I took a sabbatical from sabbaths. Blame it on Anne Frank.


Last month, our community theater put on “The Diary of Anne Frank.” In addition to staging 10 performances, they brought in an exhibit from the Anne Frank Center in New York City called “Anne Frank: A History for Today.” During the month of September, I served as a “museum” docent, and I picked Wednesdays to serve.


I really didn’t know why I made my decision until after I saw the play. This incredibly moving story was made all the more special to me because the title role was shared by sisters, one in 7th grade and one in 9th. Those girls are friends of my kids. So it wasn’t just Anne being betrayed; it was Maddie and Becca.


Here’s what I didn’t know until the play opened: Maddie and Becca are Jewish.


And then, I knew why I had volunteered on Wednesdays. It was the least–the very least–I could do, to serve for four days to help educate people in my community (a traditionally German community) about the Holocaust. The exhibit drew in many schoolchildren, several of whom were studying Anne’s diary in school.


One small boy whispered to me, “Does Anne die?”


I whispered back, “Yes, she does.”


He nodded. Somehow, he knew.


I’m sure you’ve heard that old adage, “If being a Christian were a crime, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” I don’t know if there is enough evidence in my case. But in Anne’s case, it didn’t matter. The Nazis didn’t ask whether her family observed the sabbath or whether anyone had married a Gentile or any other outward measure of piety. The Franks were were Jews. That was that.


The exhibit has moved on to somewhere in Canada, and I am back to observing my traditional/non-traditional sabbaths. I miss Anne.