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Tiananmen Tank Guy earned his place as an icon of physical courage.

Physical courage, however, is more common than moral courage. Your peers will applaud you for physical courage. Moral courage is the willingness to do something when everyone around you thinks it is wrong. Moral courage may even include the willingness to do something that actually is wrong, like shouting verbal abuse at a woman who is already crying.

See below the [insert creative name for the orange squiggle] for someone with both kinds of courage, including standing up to an SS team with no friendly cameras on him.

From Rabbi Lawrence Kushner:

A light snow was falling and the streets were crowded with people. It was Munich in Nazi Germany. One of my rabbinic students, Shifra Penzias, told me her great-aunt, Sussie, had been riding a city bus home from work when SS storm troopers suddenly stopped the coach and began examining the identification papers of the passengers. Most were annoyed, but a few were terrified. Jews were being told to leave the bus and get into a truck around the corner.

My student’s great-aunt watched from her seat in the rear as the soldiers systematically worked their way down the aisle. She began to tremble, tears streaming down her face. When the man next to her noticed that she was crying, he politely asked her why.

“I don’t have the papers you do. I am a Jew. They’re going to take me.”

The man exploded with disgust. He began to curse and scream at her. “You stupid bitch,” he roared. “I can’t stand being near you!”

The SS men asked what all the yelling was about.

“Damn her,” the man shouted angrily. “My wife has forgotten her papers again! I’m so fed up. She always does this!”

The soldiers laughed and moved on.

My student said that her great-aunt never saw the man again. She never even knew his name.

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