“Battleground” was a 1949 war film starring James Whitmore, a young Ricardo Montalban (before he became wrathful) and Denise Darcel (for no apparent reason other than an apparent reason). The setting was the American 101st division holding Bastogne France, which was the last major impediment against the last major German offensive, a drive to the
critical port city of Antwerp, which would have split the Allied lines and taken away the main Allied supply route from England.
The small contingent of American soldiers found themselves surrounded on all sides, outnumbered and outgunned (sound familiar?). The Germans, trying to preserve their armor all the way to Antwerp, offered a conditional surrender. Just leave the Americans’ temporary home and no one would get hurt, including civilians. No one would get hurt. The American
commander’s response to the offer became the most famous response in military history, “NUTS!”.
Thousands of missiles rained down on Bastogne for days while the Americans ran out of ammunition, supplies and food until all they had left was hope. They held out just long enough though for General Patton (perhaps you heard of him) to break the siege from the South.
Sometimes the enemy’s main hope is that you give up your hope. Here though, the stopping of the German offensive at Bastogne, ended the Nazi hope. By not giving up your hope, you can end their hope.
As we come back out of our shelters and return to our home at Temple Beth Tikvah, we invite everyone to start attending our home once again on Shabbat and make a stand for religious freedom (and have some Belgian chocolates and nuts on the way).
At Battleground Tikvah.
JOE WALLACK – JOEWALLACK@GMAIL.COM