Tuesday brain dump: Amish dancing, lobbying for votes, and forgiveness in the Holy Land?

  • On the AOE entry “What do Amish do for fun?“, one reader asked if Amish like to dance.  Well, good question.  I guess do they like to dance, versus do they actually dance are two different things.  We’d have to do a poll, I suppose.  If anyone saw that classic study of Amish life, the comedy film “For Richer and Poorer”, there is of course the famous barn hoe-down Amish dance scene.  Yee-ha!  On a more serious note, singing is popular and widely practiced among Amish, while dancing is not, at least among adults.  Some Amish youth may dance in social situations;  our friend Richard Stevick details the “Amish square dance” in his book Growing Up Amish: The Teenage Years.  The name for this dance in the most conservative Lancaster County youth groups is ring spiele.  Professor Stevick explains that some dances are performed “to the accompaniment of a harmonica or simply danced to the unaccompanied singing of the young people or to a caller.” (Growing Up Amish, p. 146).
  • You may remember a few weeks back I asked for help in figuring out a tagline for this blog.  Thanks for all your great suggestions.   One in particular struck me.  Paula offered up “Exploring Amish Culture, Coast-to-Coast”.  I think I’ll be going with a modified version, “Exploring Amish Culture and Communities”.  Why is it not up already?  Well, seems like it would be easy to stick a single line under the title and get it too look right, but it’s not, at least for me.  Working on that.
  • A friend passed a news story on to me yesterday, which I’m still scratching my head over.  Apparently a “delegation of Amish” traveled to the Holy Land to meet with Jewish leaders.  There they “offered a parchment with the request of forgiveness in the name of the entire Amish community.”  The reason?  “Their group’s silence during the Nazi’s extermination of Jews during the Holocaust.”  I have to say, this is not one I saw coming.  Apparently these folks are not your standard dyed-in-the-wool Amish, which you might guess from the flying in planes and outreach website some in the group operate.
  • If you’ve got a second, I could use your vote!  Or rather, my book could.  Small Business Trends is running a contest for business book of the year.  You can vote for Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive here; just click on the blue “VOTE” button.  I’m in 11th place right now;  the top 10 books win.   Voting lasts til Dec 15th; voters are even allowed to vote once per day until then.  Many thanks!

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    1. Alice Aber

      Erik, you’ve got my vote! Wow Amish going to the Holy Land. I need to read that article. Has me scratching my head too.

      Love the picture, its beautiful.

      Hope you get caught up on your schedule but if you are like me, you never really get caught up as there is always something else to do.LOL

      Blessings, Alice

    2. richard ....... close to the amish community of lebanon,pa

      alot of people or groups didnt stand-up for the jewish people during the war including the usa at the start, thank god we got on board.i thought it was a nice jester of the amish to go there and say they were sorry. they didnt have to do it mind you, which makes it that much nicer. and i hope the story is true, so after leaving this site, ill check it out on the web. hope your trying to keep warm erik over there in poland, i heard on the news late last week that penn should have a mild winter this year…………. richard

    3. "Amish" visiting Israel

      I’m actually not sure that these are in fact Amish people (ie, members of an Amish congregation), despite their “Amish” appearance. I’ve been told that some are actually no longer members, and some technically still are but may be heading in a different direction.

      Since this is pretty uncharacteristic behavior for Amish on multiple counts, that would sound about right to me. I am all for inter-faith meetings but it struck me as odd that they would offer an apology regarding the Holocaust.

    4. Lucy

      That “Amish” group that went to Israel are ex-Amish people who believe in faith healing but continue to dress Amish.They drive about America praying for people and are on facebook.

    5. Lucy, I think for the most part that is true. They present themselves as Amish and maintain the dress but are not active members of a congregation, as I understand. However I am not sure that all of the visitors to Israel are technically outside the church.

      The website is at http://www.lightofhopeministries.com/

      and facebook is http://www.facebook.com/pages/Light-of-Hope-Ministries/131550060220826?v=wall

      There is a 4 minute interview with them on the Facebook page.

    6. Lucy

      Here’s their page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Light-of-Hope-Ministries/131550060220826?v=photos#!/pages/Light-of-Hope-Ministries/131550060220826?v=wall

    7. Lucy

      You bet me to it Erik!

    8. Christina

      I just checked out the Light of Hope website. Sounds like an interesting group. I couldn’t find anything on there about members being Amish or not, but they certainly maintain the plain dress.

      Love the picture! Call me weird, but winter is my favorite time of year…er…winter with snow rather. Just love it 🙂

    9. Hmmm. I wonder if they will support the Palestinians, asking forgiveness for not raising their voice for when Israeli bulldozers plowed over their settlements?
      Always dangerous for non-resistant people to take sides in political situations …

    10. Paula

      I’m flattered, Erik. Thank you. I’m glad my tag line suggestion was helpful.

      As someone who works in Jewish history, I found the post about the Holocaust interesting and intriguing.

      Thank you again for this wonderful blog.

    11. Paula

      addendum (and apologies for back to back posting)

      Why not make “culture” a plural in the tagline, i.e. “cultures”. After all, Amish multiplicity is part of what makes these ethno-religious communities so rich and vibrant.

    12. Glad to hear it Paula! I will mull culture vs. cultures now 🙂

    13. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      Does anyone remember the country music video from around the year 2000 or a year or two earlier where people are dancing around a country auction setting, and at one point two Amish looking men hoof it together. I remember the video more than anything, but the song, I forget. The lead singer looked like he was laughing at the whole concept of the video.

    14. Kate

      Does anyone know of a way to “follow” this blog on your blogger dashboard like other blogs? I don’t want to subscribe by email but I want any new posts to show up on my blogger dashboard like other blogs. Anyone know if this is possible?? Thanks!

    15. Lucy

      “Hmmm. I wonder if they will support the Palestinians, asking forgiveness for not raising their voice for when Israeli bulldozers plowed over their settlements?”


    16. Cleone

      I wonder how many are truly Amish…I have met Amish playing online games…Do they do this

    17. Lucy


    18. Dena Casey

      Mike, I don’t think it was a political move so much as a spiritual one. Amish know the Jews are the “chosen” people of the OT and as such Christians need to support them. However, the Arabs, while 1/2 siblings to the Jews do not worship the God of the Bible and while Christians should be praying for them, they are self-proclaimed enemies of God’s people.

    19. Lucy

      sub cultures in the Amish culture.

    20. Dena,
      There are several interesting points about this visit and the subsequent asking of forgiveness:
      1. The “Amish” that went over there were not all “Amish.” The ones from here in Lancaster County, and Ben Girod (saw what I believe to be his face and thought I heard his name on the interview-but not 100% sure on that) are ex-Amish. Ben’s group in Idaho and NW Montana are actually sort of Pentecostals that still have some Amish clothes and practices left. Ben was part of the group that a few years back went to Switzerland and did the so-called “reconciliation” with the Reformed Church there, where the Reformed Church asked official forgiveness for the atrocities committed to the Anabaptists centuries ago. So this official asking of forgiveness is not new to Ben. The funny thing about that whole Swiss deal was that on the Internet there used to be (dont know if it still is) a scanned document of a letter signed by half a dozen Amish bishops saying they thought the whole idea of asking forgiveness for atrocities committed 10 generations ago to be sort of nonsense … their ancestors had long ago forgiven them.
      2. The historical eschatology of the Amish church has never recognized the present State of Israel as anything significant. The Amish have historically been “amillenial.” At the recent Anabaptist Identity Conference here in Lancaster, the idea of present-day Israel having significance in prophecy was sort of blasted, and in fact there were pictures shown of Orthodox Jews burning an Israeli flag in protest of the present Israeli state. There was mention made there of the atrocities committed by Israel (and the Palestinian side), with the conclusion that the present State of Israel is not to be looked upon as a fulfillment of God’s kingdom, and that God’s people should be neutral in the conflict.
      3. Probably 98% of the Amish people have no idea that this group was going to go and make statements about the Amish repenting for their silence of the holocaust and giving their support to Isreal now.
      Now I said these three points to say this: How preposterous is it for a group of ex-Amish to go to Israel and make statements for the Amish, of whom 98% didnt even know they were going, and making statements that would sort of go against the historical (and present) Amish view concerning Israel?
      Highly preposterous, not? :-0
      It would sort of be like me–as a non-Amish– making an official apology to Erik for all the Polish jokes that the Amish have told. When in fact many of the Amish still tell them and don’t plan to quit. 🙂

    21. Dena Casey

      I agree Mike that they went to make a blanket apology and were speaking for a group of people they may not have had permission to apologize for. My point was referring to the motivation behind it being spiritual rather than a political statement although I could be wrong! LOL

    22. Alice Aber

      Been voting every day Erik, what place are you in now? Sure hope you are getting enough votes!

    23. Thank you Alice–I am still hanging around #12-13. But there are 12 days to go so hopefully can make that up and get into the top 10. Appreciate you voting daily!

    24. Mike-Amish tell Polish jokes?!? First I’d heard… 😉

    25. I voted… 🙂
      And I appreciate Mike’s and Dena’s comments. One should stick to apologizing for one’s own mistakes.

    26. Terry Berger

      The article mentioned Amish from the States and Switzerland. Are there any surviving Amish congregations in Europe? I thought they had all immigrated or were absorbed back into the Mennonite church? My own church group has churches in Germany and throughout Europe, I wasn’t so certain about the Amish.


    27. Hi Terry, there are no Old Order Amish in Europe. The last congregation merged with Mennonites in the late 1930s. There are some Beachy Amish congregations, however. Here’s a bit more from the AOE: https://amishamerica.com/do-amish-live-in-europe/

    28. Alice Aber

      Click, click, click,,, keep hitting that vote button everyday. Almost missed yesterday, had some really bad news first thing in the morning.

      The Pastor of our church died of a massive heart attack Saturday night. I hope its OK to ask everyone for prayers for Pastor David’s family, and the congregation, this has been such a shock. Apparently someone was trying to steal his big outdoor cooker and he was chasing him when he had the heart attack.

      The young man is in jail and will need prayers too. I cannot imagine what he is going through realizing he may have been the cause of such a fine man’s death just because of a stupid cooker. 🙁 Very sad day for us here in Central Illinois.

    29. I am very sorry to hear that Alice. Will keep you and them in mind, it must be a shock.

    30. Alice Aber

      Thanks Erik!! Yes it is a shock. It all seems so unreal. I just came back from doing some work at the church in preparation for the funeral and I really kept expecting Pastor to come walking through the door. 🙁

    31. Jimmy

      The of richer or poorer barn scene

      Whats the name of the song that Tim Allen and kristy alley dance too.