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We Are Already Members!

Bracha Goetz


There were no security guards by the synagogues or the Jewish schools when I

first wrote the manuscript a few years ago for my new children’s book that was

just published. The Courage Club , based on Sefer Daniel, is adapted into this picture

book as a present day school play performance. But when I originally wrote it, to

inspire children with Daniel’s and his friends’ courage, it didn’t feel relevant to

young Jewish lives today. Now it does.


Now it takes courage to walk around with a yarmulke or show outwardly in other

ways that you are Jewish in many public places. It takes courage to support Israel

on college campuses. And it takes courage to express a Torah view when everyone

else at a gathering is against it even being said. It’s hard to remember how

different things were a handful of years ago.


The four boys, Daniel, Chananyah, Mishael, and Azaryah, were captured by

Nebuchadnezzar’s soldiers when the Babylonians conquered Yerushalayim. They

were taken away from their families to Babylonia (now Iraq) along with the holy

treasures from our demolished First Temple. The Babylonians deliberately took the

smartest teens as captives to train them for service in the king’s court, with

assimilation as a prerequisite.


The goal was to use both the shining vessels from our Beis Hamikdash as well as

these shining boys – who were also our treasures – in unholy ways. It’s hard to

stand up for what’s right in a small group of people, and these boys had to stand up

to the most powerful man with the most powerful army in the world at that time.

Instead of assimilating, they became shining examples for all the nations to

witness what a sincere recognition of our gratitude to the Almighty can accomplish.

These teens’ most major challenges are documented in our sacred writings. As we

know, growth follows a pattern of emerging stronger through challenges and

struggles. And when they struggled and passed their tests, they also passed the

spiritual DNA of heroic courage achieved down to future generations, including us.

As The Courage Club  explains:


“Inside every Jewish child,

There is a tiny spark.

This spark is sometimes all that’s left,

When the world gets awfully dark.”


But if that spark gets kindled, it can light up the world.

Daniel outlived the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar, Merodach, Belshazzar, Darius, and

Cyrus, as a widely respected advisor helping to facilitate the rebuilding of our Beis

Hamikdash in Yerushalayim. (And this is even though King Darius had thrown Daniel

in a lions’ den when he was caught praying.) It is reported by some Torah scholars

that he even appears in the Purim story, still serving as an elderly wise man in the

king’s court. But this time it was for the Persian king, Ahasverus, as Daniel bravely

delivers vital information to Mordechai, helping in the unfolding of our deliverance

from destruction once again.


We have been surrounded by those rising up to seek our extermination repeatedly,

with short breaks of less overt annihilation through assimilation challenging us in



Today, when we courageously adhere to the Torah’s guidelines even when it is

difficult to do, it is from that same “pintele Yid” inside us – that tiny spark. It is

the “conscience of the world” that Hitler, yemach shemo, sought to extinguish.

From a small glow, this super-powered part of the Almighty within, continues to

light the way to outlive all who persist in seeking our end.

How can we do it? We shine through teaching our children – our holy treasures – to

appreciate the Torah’s wisdom inherited along with our spiritual capabilities and

responsibilities. We have inside us the potential to be luminaries. The Courage Club

offers eternal membership.


Bracha Goetz is the author of 41 Jewish children’s books: www.goetzbookshop.com .

Her newest picture book release is The Courage Club .

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