web analytics
October 31, 2014 / 7 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Merits Of Our Fathers

Helen (Regina) and Shlomo (Severin) Schlesinger with the author. The photo was taken in 1948 in Regensberg, Germany.

Helen (Regina) and Shlomo (Severin) Schlesinger with the author. The photo was taken in 1948 in Regensberg, Germany.

We entered a building labeled Zydovski Museum.  In the basement was a large darkened room illuminated with a single ner tamid flickering on the floor.  A voice of a chazzan chanted a most powerful Kel Moleh.  I burst out crying uncontrollably. All the pent up detachment from the horrors could not be contained.  The plaintive chanting reduced my hatred of our oppressors to a helpless sorrow.

My father told me that his every move was seemingly directed to the correct choice, that he was being watched over and, as he always expresses, he was meant to live.  His refrain is that all the moves that he made contributed to his survival and were fortuitous and most important, that he became reacquainted with his future wife six months before the war ended.

It is easy to identify with Shlomo Ben David and his wife Rifka, vibrant caring personalities that elicit love, respect and an ever-present sense of optimism.

But who were their parents?  Yes there is the photograph of an unsmiling Yid with a beard, “hoche” Yitchock Isaac Gutterman.  But a picture does not convey the personality.  If you tear it into pieces it does not cry out in pain or bleed hotly.  His murder left his children orphans and his grandchildren bereft of a Zaidy.  What about Blima and Sarah and Dovid who are even more abstract?  No pictures remain of them.  Yet they too were as real as hoche Isaac.  They suffered needlessly, being only guilty of the appellation Jew.

We rationalize that they were brave as they were being sacrificed as a kapporah. We know that their beliefs and way of life was not lost or corrupted by expediency and impotent reconciliations.  Their grandchildren are testimony that their credo lives on, in their successive generations’ values and ethos.

Our grandparents did not become statistics but building blocks, support beams and are being perpetuated in their grandchildren’s genes and way of life.

Yitzchock Isaac’s father, Yisroel Gutterman, the Steibel Yid, an almost forgotten personage suddenly came to life at the bris of a five-generation later grandson named after him.  Yes, Yisroel lives on as does Isaac, Sarah, Blima, Dovid, Chana, Hadassah and Leah who were reborn in the ashes and are thriving as they emulate the values personified by their namesakes.

My parents are true survivors.  They were not distracted by the many isms, some relatively benevolent, others of irreconcilable evil.  They emerged from the war years with a spiritual, physical and emotional positiveness.  My parents got married immediately after the war in Germany.  They made a conscious and palpable decision to be religious and to rebuild their lives with Torah rules and the culture that was their parents’ way.

Their post-war years sojourn in Regensburg, Germany was just a zwichenzug in their lives before moving to America.  America with its unlimited choices, freedoms and opportunity was a template of endless potential. Unfortunately, it also presented a society that was out of step with religion, that replaced G-d with a slakeless quest for success and money.

Ignoring these powerful and distracting influences, in 1949 our dear parents opted to relocate to Williamsburg, Brooklyn and sent their children to yeshivas, staying frum and not emulating the unencumbered ways of their “survivor” friends.

Instead of being handicapped or demoralized by the banality of their oppressors, our parents surmounted those vituperative influences by embracing an Orthodox religious life for themselves and their children.

At every juncture thereafter, a consistent conscious decision was made to live in a Jewish community and continue to send their children to yeshivas, paying tuition with scarce dollars.

This formula worked.  My parents have, thank G­­­-d, three children and eleven grandchildren and 30+­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ great-grandchildren, all frum and Bnei Torah (bli ayin hora).

EPILOGUE:

Shlomo Ben Dovid Schlesinger went to Israel directly after this trip to Poland and, together with his wife, purchased burial plots for themselves in the Har Menuchos Cemetery so as to preclude being obliterated on hostile foreign soil.

About the Author:


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 “Merits Of Our Fathers”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Yehudah Glick on the Temple Mount.
Yehuda Glick Condition Stabilizing, More Surgery Needed (1:00 PM)
Latest Sections Stories
Collecting-History-logo

Undoubtedly the greatest manifestation of his antipathy was his infamous declaration: “[Expletive] the Jews. They don’t vote for us anyway.”

West-Coast-logo

Chaplain Winkler along with the other OJCB chaplains work tirelessly on a daily basis to ensure that all of the Jewish prisoners religious needs are met.

Eller-103114-Busy-In-Brooklyn

“I work around the Jewish calendar, always trying to think of creative spins,” noted Chani.

“Without a high school diploma, you couldn’t work as a garbage collector in New York City; you couldn’t join the Air Force. Yet a quarter of our kids still walked out of high school and never came back.”
– Amanda Ridley

My mother-in-law is totally devoted to her daughters and their children. Her sons’ children on the other hand are treated like second-class citizens.

The Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews is designed to tell the whole thousand-year story of the Jews in Poland.

The experience that I was privileged to have this summer was one that was amazing, powerful, and unforgettable. It was a summer of a lifetime. And it’s something that many other groups shared as well. This summer was not exclusive to one group – it was universal. Putting a title on which program was which […]

Avromi often put other people’s interests before his own: he would not defend people whom he believed were guilty (even if they were willing to pay him a lot of money).

The Presbyterian Church USA voted to divest from three companies that do business with Israel.

How can I help my wife learn to say “no,” and understand that her first priority must be her husband and family?

My eyes skimmed an article on page 1A. I was flabbergasted. I read the title again. Could it be? It had good news for the Miami Jewish community.

Students in early childhood, elementary, and middle school were treated to an array of hands-on projects to create sukkah decorations such as wind chimes, velvet posters, sand art, paper chains, and more.

More Articles from Isaac Schlesinger
Helen (Regina) and Shlomo (Severin) Schlesinger with the author. The photo was taken in 1948 in Regensberg, Germany.

The parallel lives of my father, Shlomo Ben Dovid Schlesinger, whose name was once Severin and that of his first cousin, Severin F., diverged exponentiallys shared a maternal grandmother, Raisel Schlesinger, a frum balabusta, who lived and practiced the traditional ways of her forefathers. along different lifestyles and choices. Each of the Severin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/merits-of-our-fathers/2013/09/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: