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Recent years have seen a flood of books on the Holocaust. The reason is that the number of survivors are dwindling, and in a few years there will be no witnesses. With all the anti-Semitic Holocaust deniers waiting in the wings, it is vital that the memories of this horrific time in Jewish history be recorded. And although it is painful to read them, we should never forget the oft-repeated warning: “Those who refuse to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat
I was particularly interested in a newly-released book “To Live and Fight Another Day” by Bracha Weisbarth, sub-titled: “The story Of A Jewish Partisan Boy,” because it is set in the forests near the town of Rovne, where my husband was born. It was Poland before the borders changed it to Russia, and today it is Ukraine. Formerly a vibrant Jewish town where
Yiddish was mostly spoken, you would not find a Jew there today. Either they fled in the 30′s while it was still possible, died in concentration camps, or were among a handful who survived as partisans living under unimaginable hardships in forests. The author was born in the Ukraine in 1938. Three years later, the Germans entered and occupied the region where her family lived. This book tells the true story of their struggle to survive as partisans fighting the Nazis in the forest near Rovne – her parents, sister and brother, two uncles, an aunt and a cousin. After
liberation, Bracha’s family lived for three years in a Displaced Persons’ camp in Germany before going to Israel in 1948. She served in the IDF and completed her education at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Today, a proud grandmother of five, she lives in Morristown, New Jersey and works as director of library services at the Waldor Memorial Library.
The hero and narrator of the book is Benny, modeled on her brother Benjamin. He was 11 when the German army occupied the village and all the men were sent to labor camps. At this tender age, he became the man of the family, foraging for food and forcing them to flee to the forest on the eve of the mass murder of Jews in the ghetto, thereby saving their lives.
Of course not everyone survived the war, and his sister Dina was one of the casualties. But those who did survive lived to see Germany surrender and Hitler dead and eventually escaped from the Europe that was soaked with so much Jewish blood.
Being written in the first person in the voice of the young boy gives the story an immediacy that
enables the reader to identify fully with all that is happening. The partisans were a disparate group who had escaped to the forest, and while fighting for their own survival without even the most basic necessities, still managed later to link up with some Russian anti-Nazi fighters and go on forays to harass the enemy – in one incident de-railing a provisions train at enormous danger to themselves.
This is a tale of great courage that evokes smiles as well as tears as it recounts Benny’s exploits, including how he needs to dress as a girl to deliver some leaflets warning collaborators of their fate in the village of Balasivka. His sister has to teach him how to walk, talk and act as a girl, to his great embarrassment. Arriving at the village, he is only saved from the unwanted attentions and molestation by some bullies who are interested in “her” charms by
the local priest.
There is another dramatic story of the rescue of a Jewish child from a convent, where her mother had hidden her for safety and from which the nuns later refuse to release her.
This book helps us to understand and appreciate the heroic, unsung heroes who were not “led like sheep to the slaughter” as the ignorant would have us believe, but who continued to fight against enormous odds and eventually triumphed. When I closed the last page, I wanted to stand up and applaud.
(The book can be ordered at $12.95 from the international distributor, Jeffrey Mazo, at the Chicago telephone number, 1 815 301 3559 or can be ordered from your local bookshop with the ISBN number 965-90462-3-5. It is published in Jerusalem by Mazo Publishers and is 158 pages.)
Dvora Waysman, a freelance writer living in Jerusalem, is the author of nine books, including ”Woman of Jerusalem”; ”The Pomegranate Pendant”; and ”Esther: a Jerusalem Love Story.” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; website:
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What better proof do we need than the recent war with Hamas in Gaza, dubbed “Operation Protective Edge,” that transformed the pain and suffering of three families into a sense of unparalleled unity and outpouring of love of the entire nation of Israel?
So many families are mourning, and all along we mourned with them.
In addition to his great erudition, Rabi Akiva was known for his optimism.
What can we do to help him stop feeling so sad all the time?
Children with dyslexia or dysgraphia frequently have problems in social relationships.
Israel’s neighbors engaged in hostilities from the onset. The War of Independence was a hard-won battle. Aggression and enmity has followed for 66 years.
The contest will include student-created sculpture, computer graphic design, collage, videography, PowerPoint and painting.
David, an 8-year-old boy on the autism spectrum, recently attended a Friendship Circle event. As he entered he told his Dad, “I love coming to the FC programs ‘cause everyone loves each other.”
Goldsmith himself went on his own “voyage of discovery” to the places where his grandfather and uncle landed and were sent.
Frank proclaimed himself Zvi’s successor and the reincarnation of King David.
You’re probably wondering why the greatest advocate of fast and easy preps in the kitchen is talking about layer cakes, right?
Almost immediately the audience began singing and clapping and continued almost without stop throughout the rest of the concert.
Just imagine you are walking through a beautiful garden. Feast your eyes on the colors of the flowers, the grass at your feet, the leaves of the trees in shades from green to silver. Listen to the birds. Let the sunshine caress your face. Smell the perfume.
This is a remarkable book to assist those of us – and that means everyone – who are trying to find our way in life, with all its setbacks and pain, as well as for people who want to help people.
Forty-six years ago, in the first week of June, Israel stunned the world when it wasn’t looking. Four years later, Israel stunned me when I wasn’t looking.
Jerusalem was never real to me. It was a name I came across in books of Bible stories as a child. If I’d ever tried to imagine it, it would have been like places in my books of fairy stories. I knew it was a city with crenellated walls, with domes and towers and minarets. In my mind, I saw it peopled with old men with long beards and flowing robes, and women with clay jugs precariously balanced on their heads.
Jews all over the world celebrate Israel’s Independence Day – even those who have no intention of ever coming on aliyah, and many of whom have never even visited Israel. “It’s a kind of insurance policy” one overseas friend told me. “By supporting Israel financially and emotionally, I know that its sanctuary is available to me or my children or grandchildren should the need ever arise.”
As we get older, nostalgia takes over many areas of our life and we often yearn for things from the past.
One of the most popular of our chaggim is Simchat Torah, which falls on the last day of Sukkot. As its name suggests, Simchat Torah celebrates the joy of the Torah. There is no record of this holiday before the 11th century, and its origin may have been in Spain.
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