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August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
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Mazal Tov!

        Whenever Jews come together in honor of a lifecycle event, it is a simchah. Rarely does a community, especially a small one, celebrate more than one simchah at a time.

 

         While planning my current trip to Poland I was informed that I had to be in Warsaw for the weekend of Parshat Chukat as they would be celebrating four special events.

 

         A baby girl had just been born and would be named at Kriat HaTorah, a young man reached the age of Bar Mitzvah, and there would be not one wedding, but two, on Sunday. And the chatanim would both be called to the Torah on that day. This is an unprecedented event in post-Shoah Poland and possibly in the 105-year-old history of the Nozyk synagogue itself.

 


Yehuda Mordechai Koronowski-Kafka

 

 

         During the reading of the Torah on Shabbat the whole congregation stopped to sing and dance with each of the four celebrants.

 

         The baby’s name is Rachel Rivka bat Yisrael and Sarah Kurzokowski, the proud Bar Mitzvah boy, Yehuda Mordechai Koronowski-Kafka. The first wedding on Sunday at three p.m. was for Tzuriel ben Avraham and Orah bat Avraham Kowalik, and the second wedding, held minutes later with a shared reception, was of Malka Kafka to Michael Herman.

 

 


Tzuriel Ben Avraham and Orah bat Avraham Kowalik


 

        

         While at the reception I heard that the Beit Chabad was also celebrating the birth of a son to Rabbi and Rebbetzin Shalom Ber Stambler.

 


Malka Kafka to Michael Herman

 

 

         Sadly, news also arrived that an old woman, a member of the community, had passed away over the weekend. This one weekend, full of milestones of the Jewish lifecycle, confirms that Jewish life has been reawakened in Poland.

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The official beginning of World War II was September 1, 1939. On that day German soldiers invaded Gdansk after bombarding the city with a military warship. As part of the Polish Government’s official series of events marking seven decades since the start of World War II, Poland’s Jewish community and the Jerusalem-based “Shavei Israel” organization held a special ceremony yesterday in the Gdansk synagogue to commemorate the outbreak of the war, which paved the way for the Holocaust.

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September 1, 1939 is the date on which Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII. While it should be said that the start of the war was not the start of the Shoah, which actually began with the rise of Nazism in 1933, it was a major milestone in the annals of the Holocaust. Within the first few days of the war, Germany had conquered and/or bombed much of Poland, including the capital, Warsaw.

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