The Inspiring And Illustrious Dayan Grunfeld
Full-Length Bio Needed
Raphael Grunfeld’s front-page essay (“My Father, Dayan Grunfeld,” Sept.14) provides some fascinating information about a man who did so much for Yiddishkeit during his lifetime. In particular, I found some of the recollections about how his father lived his personal life inspiring.
I would like to encourage the author to write a full-length biography of his father, as not enough people know much about the life of this great man and his accomplishments.
Dr. Yitzchok Levine
Editor’s Note: Dr. Levine writes “Glimpses Into American Jewish History,” which appears in The Jewish Press the first week of each month.
Blessed To Have Such Leaders
The portrait Raphael Grunfeld painted of his father underscores the fact that the Jewish people have often been blessed with individuals thoroughly versed in all aspects of the Torah who also possess the requisite insight and intellect to provide direction in everyday pursuits and rise to the challenges faced by fellow Jews.
Dayan Grunfeld was just such an inspirational giant.
Church And State
While I thoroughly enjoyed Raphael Grunfeld’s paean to his illustrious father, I disagree with one of his observations. The son cites his father for the proposition that “the origins of the Holocaust could be traced back to the emergence of the Renaissance era with its separation of God and the State….”
But weren’t the Crusades fought by the secular state on behalf of the church? Were not most pogroms inspired by the anti-Semitism imbibed by European peasants Sunday after Sunday from the local Catholic priests? And wasn’t the relentless persecution of European Jews throughout the centuries based on the state’s championing of Catholicism?
It seems to me that anti-Semitism is rooted in unity between church and state, not separation of the two.
Dayan Grunfeld And The ‘Exodus’
I first heard of Dayan Grunfeld when I was ten years old in Gateshead, England. I had known some aspects of his life and family but I discovered something new in Raphael Grunfeld’s front-page essay: That the rabbi involved in the Cyprus crisis in Leon Uris’s novel Exodus was based on Dayan Grunfeld.
I myself have some personal connections with the story. The money for the famous ship was given to my mother, Rebbetzin Feuerwerker, to hide in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris. She hid it under my father’s bed, knowing that nobody would suspect my father, Rabbi Dr. David Feuerwerker, the rav of Neuilly. My sister Atara played with those golden coins, but to make sure the secret wouldn’t get out, she was told they were buttons.
My aunt, Rose Gluck (later Warfman), together with the abbé Alexandre Glasberg, a Jewish-born Catholic priest who saved thousands of Jews during the Shoah and was posthumously recognized by Yad Vashem as a “Righteous among the Nations,” wrote all the false identification papers for the passengers of the “Exodus.” She told me they spent hours doing that work, without much talk. The job had to be done.
My aunt will be 96 on October 4. She is a survivor of Auschwitz and Gross-Rosen, a member of the French Résistance, and an officer of the Legion of Honor, the most prestigious medal awarded by the French government. She lives in Manchester, England, and is the matriarch of a chassidic family.
Dr. Elie Feuerwerker
Highland Park, NJ