web analytics
March 30, 2015 / 10 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Columns »

The Eternity Of Israel

            Gradually but energetically, the circle of worshipers made its way around the interior of Krakow’s medieval Rema synagogue, their voices rising ever more forcefully in song and prayer.

 

            Stirred on by the inspiring Sabbath melodies, they joined hands and thrust their feet forward in unison, filling the space with a dynamic, yet gentle, passion.

 

            “Merciful Father, draw Your servant closer to Your will,” they sang, as the words of the 16th-century Yedid Nefesh hymn cascaded throughout the room. “Illuminate the world with Your glory, that we may rejoice,” they chanted.

 

            Just as Jews have been doing for centuries, the celebrants welcomed the figurative Sabbath bride with a mixture of pomp and elation.

 

            But this was no ordinary Friday night service.

 

            Over 70 years ago, this city had been captured by the Nazis, who mercilessly ransacked it and hunted down local Jews with the aim of erasing the name of Israel from under the heavens.

 

            But recently, that name was alive and well in the Rema synagogue’s sanctuary, as some 150 “hidden Jews” from across Poland gathered to reclaim the precious heritage that is rightfully theirs.

 

            They were in Krakow to attend a special seminar convened by Shavei Israel, the organization I chair, to enable them to reconnect with their roots.

 

            Indeed, something special is taking place in Poland these days. Against all odds, a nascent revival is underway, as increasing numbers of Poles are rediscovering their Jewish roots and looking for ways to rejoin our people.

 

            Some were raised as Catholics, only to learn later in life that their biological parents or grandparents were Jews. Others knew they were Jewish, but chose to hide their identity because of their families’ experiences under Nazism and Communism.

 

            There is Jacek, a young man in his early 20s from the city of Wroclaw, who first learned he was Jewish just a few years ago.

 

            One evening, while watching a television program about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict together with his mother, she offhandedly said to him, “now you know why my nose is so large.”

 

            The news struck him like a thunderbolt, particularly since he knew that his maternal great-grandfather had been a German who had served in the Wehrmacht during World War II. Nonetheless, his great-grandfather had married a Jewess, meaning that Jacek’s grandmother, mother – and, yes, Jacek too, – are all Jewish according to Jewish law.

 

            He now proudly wears a large Star of David around his neck and attends synagogue regularly.

 

            Then there is Esther, a young woman from Krakow, who only learned of her family’s Jewishness last summer, when her maternal grandmother lay on her deathbed and told her the shocking news.

 

            With the fall of the Iron Curtain, and Poland’s embrace of democracy, people feel freer to delve into their past, and to express themselves as Jews.

            And so, after two or even three generations in which untold numbers of Polish Jews sought to hide their identity, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren have now started to come back.

 

            Can anyone possibly doubt the eternity of Israel?

 

            As the Friday night service in the Rema synagogue continued, I thought of how, just an hour away, to the west of Krakow, stands the death camp of Auschwitz. It was there that part of my family, along with millions of other holy Jews, were so cruelly murdered by the Germans and their henchmen. And my heart began to sink.

 

            But then I looked around me and watched in awe as the reawakened remnants of Polish Jewry recited an impassioned version of the Lecha Dodi prayer.

 

            “Wake up! Wake up! For your light has come,” they intoned, “awake, awake and utter a song, for the glory of the Lord is upon you.”

 

            The “hidden Jews” of Poland are truly awakening, and it is incumbent upon us to help them. We must reach out to them and encourage them, and restore them to our people.

 

            In Ezekiel, Chapter 37, God promised to bring life to the dry bones of His people Israel, saying: “I will open your graves and bring you up from them and I will bring you back to the land of Israel . I will put my spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land.”

 

            Seven decades after the Holocaust, we are privileged to be witnessing the fulfillment of this verse. These bones are coming to life once again, as the Jewish spirit within burns ever brighter.

 

            Our task now is to open the door and welcome them back as they finally make the long journey home.

 

            Michael Freund, whose Jewish Press-exclusive column ordinarily appears the third week of each month (this month being an obvious exception), served as deputy director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office under Benjamin Netanyahu from 1996 to 1999. He is founder and chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists “lost Jews” seeking to return to the Jewish people. 

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at jmaoz@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Eternity Of Israel”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
One-third of polled Republicans see President Obama as the biggest imminent threat to the USA.
One-Third of GOP Voters See Obama Worse for US than Assad and Putin
Latest Indepth Stories
Photo from President Barack Obama's past visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

{Originally posted to author’s website, FirstOne Through} TRUST Trust is the bedrock of a functional relationship. It enables one party to rely on the other. A trust that includes both intention and capability permits a sharing of responsibility and workload. The relationship between US President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu started off badly and further […]

jabotinsky with sword

Jabotinsky said “Go To Hell” was a good retort to opponents of the Jewish people; fitting for Obama.

Obama Racine

Obama pulled off one of US history’s greatest cons,twice fooling a gullible electorate and most Jews

Auschwitz Entrance

While in Auschwitz I felt a tangible intensity. I could sense that I was in a place of sheer evil.

Obama needs to wake up. The real enemy is not Netanyahu but Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad,IS

My beliefs & actions have led to numerous death threats against me; my excommunication by my church

In November 2014, Islamic Relief Worldwide was classified as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

In any event, Mr. Netanyahu after the election sought to soften his statement on Palestinian statehood and apologized for what he conceded were remarks that “offended some Israeli citizens and offended members of the Israeli Arab community.”

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, both outspokenly critical of Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to Congress, were wowed by him in 2011.

Note also the response to the speech by the top Democrats in the House and Senate, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, both of whom have been outspoken in their criticism of Netanyahu’s upcoming visit.

Comptroller DiNapoli celebrates Sukkot with Crown Heights Jewish community leaders at the sukkah of Rabbi Chanina Sperlin of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council.

The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

When you grow up in a home where your parents went through what my parents went through, you realize that life has to be meaningful. You have to be there for other people.

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

The Clintonan “engagement” liberals remember with such fondness did nothing but embolden Arafat and Hamas and Hizbullah as they witnessed Israel’s only real ally elevate process ahead of policy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/the-eternity-of-israel/2010/04/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: