On April 14, 2014 at sunset, begins for us and the Jewish people, this year’s Pesach (or Passover). It is one of the most important festivals of the people of God.
It is the Lord’s Passover…This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. (Exodus 12:11a,14)
This feast day is also the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread:
And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statute forever. In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses… (Exodus 12:17-19a)
This is a family festival with a week when only unleavened bread is eaten. It is an essential part of a great and meaningful tradition that must be passed on:
And when you come to the land that the Lord will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. When your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’” (Exodus 12:26-27)
For us, the Lord’s Supper on Passover, the breaking of bread together with our children, is one of the highest of our religious festivals. A narrator describes here to the children the story of the Exodus from Egypt and we parents talk about our faith and our gratitude for the Son of God, our sacrificial lamb.
Denial of Religious Liberty
Therefore, we have applied at the Youth Office that our children could celebrate Passover with us, as well as the district court, that our children could come home for this special celebration for a day, for at least a few hours. If necessary, they could come with the supervision of either their educators, foster parents, or staff of the Youth Office. Anything that they could celebrate this festival with us.
Since our children were forcibly taken into state custody, the Jugendamt has denied them the exercise of their religion: they must not celebrate the Shabbat, they cannot have their Bar Mitzvah celebration (Confirmation), they cannot attend weddings of their siblings and friends, and they have not been able to take part in their Yom Kippur and Succoth celebrations. And now for them the Passover celebration was banned. This is the state of religious freedom in Germany.
We turned for help to the appropriate family court Nördlingen. As was to be expected, family court judge Roser decided to deny the petition, under the pretext that “restrictions are necessary to prevent an actual danger to the child’s welfare.”
Has anyone noticed the youth and the children running home? They are fleeing danger and running to safety. Why are they are running home? It’s simple: there they are loved. But the courts must never acknowledge this.
If they were to do so, the Jugendamt and the courts would have to yield to considerations such as human dignity, religious freedom, the rights of the family, individual human rights (such as the right to privacy of communication and not to be imprisoned without a charge — as our children have been). Funny how all of these things (and more) are protected or guaranteed in the Basic Law of Germany. But not for us.
Is this our fair country of Germany where the practice of religion is guaranteed by the Basic Law? Or is this some other place where freedoms, such as the freedom of religion, are meaningless words written on a piece of paper somewhere called the “Constitution” (or Basic Law)?
We will now call for help from the Federal Constitutional Court. Yesterday, the Twelve Tribes demonstrated about this before the district court of Nördlingen, and we subsequently staged a protest march through the down town.
Fellow citizens, it was no coincidence that the group loss of custody in the Twelve Tribes took place on the Jewish feast day of awakening!
We need to wake up to the fact that the fundamental rights in our country are in danger!