Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.
The 14th of Sivan (May 27) marks the tenth yahrzeit of my father, Zechariah Schwarzberg, z”l, a man who experienced the worst humanity had to offer and responded with the best the human spirit could muster.
The only member of his large family not to have been murdered by the Nazis, he survived the Warsaw Ghetto uprising only to be imprisoned in Maidenak, Skarzysko and Buchenwald.
After the war he served as a cantor in several European countries – Switzerland, France and Italy, among others – before emigrating to the United States in 1954.
From the furnace that was Europe he built a shining life in America. Within a few years of his arrival he had learned a new language, become a husband and father, embarked on a career in real estate and established himself as a familiar and respected presence in the Orthodox community of Essex County, New Jersey. Advertisement
He epitomized the term Family Man. Robbed so cruelly and at such a tender age of everyone he held dear – parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins – he doted on his wife and two children, concentrating exclusively on their needs, their comfort, their well-being.
He would rearrange his business appointments at a moment’s notice to accommodate the schedules – and often the whims – of family members. Rarely did anyone in the family have to walk to a store or wait for a bus or a train; he insisted on driving everyone himself – otherwise, he said, he would worry.
The family lived just a few blocks from the local yeshiva, but when his children were younger he took time off from work to drive them to school every morning and back home every afternoon.
Though he was intimately acquainted with mankind’s darkest side, he never lost his faith in God or his love for other people. In his daily life and in his business dealings he refused to distinguish between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jew or between Jew and non-Jew.
Always he had a good word to all and about all. He was incapable of believing the worst about anyone, even when he had reason to suspect it might be true.
Scrupulously honest, he never hesitated to dissuade clients from deals he felt would not be beneficial to them – even when doing so meant a financial loss for him.
The pursuit of money as the focus of one’s life was a concept foreign to his very nature. His favorite aphorism was the verse from Pirkei Avot by which he lived every day of his life: Eizeh hu ashir? Hasameach b’chelko – Who is rich? He who is satisfied with his lot.
He saw no conflict between love of Judaism and love of the State of Israel, and had little patience with Orthodox Jews who did. He knew all too well what happens to defenseless Jews.
His pride in young Jewish soldiers defending a strong Jewish state was deeply felt, as was his gratitude for having been privileged to witness the birth of the first sovereign Jewish commonwealth in two millennia.
When Israel stunned the world in 1967 with its lightning victory in the Six-Day War, my father – then just 22 years removed from the concentration camps – was glued to the radio and the television, following the news as though he himself were riding in a tank or toting an Uzi.
And in a sense he was. This, he told his very young son, was God’s answer to a world that mockingly asked why He had abandoned His people. This was His response to Jews whose faith had vanished in the smoke of Auschwitz. From the ashes of the worst catastrophe in Jewish history, a people who for endless centuries were scattered and scorned and slain, homeless and powerless and friendless, had returned to Israel and now strode the land of their patrimony as battle-tested warriors, blowing the ram’s horn and raising the Star of David at their holiest places.
When Israeli commandos staged the electrifying Entebbe rescue in 1976, my father reacted with unrestrained emotion. “Never in my wildest dreams,” he said, “when the Poles and the Ukrainians and the Germans were spitting and cursing at us, beating us and killing us, could I have imagined that one day – in my lifetime – the world would watch with awe as Jewish soldiers and Jewish pilots flew 2,500 miles, undetected, to rescue Jewish citizens of a Jewish state.”
About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.
Our journey begins by attempting to see things differently, only then can we be open to change.
Despite Western ‘Conventional Wisdom&PC,’ the Arab/Israeli conflict was never about the Palestinians
In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site
Inspired by the Perek Shira pasuk for “small non-kosher animals” we named the bunny “Rebbetzin Tova”
The abuse following publication proved a cautionary tale: no one followed in Peters’s footsteps
Plainly, there is no guiding hand dictating choices across the board.
How many sites that tell you to check your politics at the door have 10,000 likes?
In this particular case, the issue was whether the Arkansas prison system could prohibit, for security reasons, a devout Muslim’s maintaining a beard of a certain length as a matter of religious practice.
While we recognize the Republican Jewish Coalition is hardly a non-partisan outfit, a snippet from a statement the group released is worthy of note:
“These are good matzah balls,” my aunt Robertine would say, but her sister Irma would counter “No, not compared to Mama’s. They were always so light yet they never fell apart.”
Despite the 2005 Koby Mandell Act no Palestinian implicated in harming an American has been charged
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.
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/opinions/a-fathers-shining-life-2/2010/05/26/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: