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May 27, 2015 / 9 Sivan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘death’

Confronting Auschwitz and Birkenau

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

There was a shift in the paradigm of my life after my experience at Auschwitz-Birkenau, one of the largest concentration and extermination camps operating during the Holocaust.

The cold, hard facts of the Holocaust are well known, but it is only once you hear a survivor tell you their personal story that it truly strikes you how they now appreciate their lives in a way that not many of us do today; some attribute their survival to God, some to faith, to love, to family, to luck.

We are the most likely the last generation to be able to hear these stories from the survivors of the Holocaust and be able to ask them questions. That is a huge privilege. A privilege which I was able to take part with the ‘Lessons From Auschwitz’ program with the Holocaust Educational Trust.

We had been warned by our team leaders that there was no right or wrong way to feel about the experience, but prior to the trip to Poland in November 2012, some may have had some prior idea as to how they would react – for me, it was numbing, absolutely numbing. Expectations were of misery and sadness; the lessons taught were vital for us as “Holocaust Ambassadors,” but also to absorb and reflect upon as human beings.

In both Auschwitz and Birkenau, the atmosphere was very sombre and we all said little as we walked through the camps, supposedly out of respect, or out of sadness, or shock; there was an almost alien sense of peace, as if the silence that had settled over the camps was still somehow alive, as if the sounds heard all those years ago were still echoing within the brick walls. I’ve never experienced an environment so heavy with sorrow, and it frightened me – it’s almost a warning to us as the new generation about to inherit responsibility of the earth, as it could be seen as a display of the consequences of power being given to the wrong hands.

Such was the melancholy atmosphere. The cold was extraordinary; by the time we had reached the Birkenau camp, the sun had almost set and the bitter cold was starting to seep in through our clothing. We tightened our coats and took the long, mournful walk alongside the train tracks leading into the camp. I was taken aback by the sheer scale of the place; rows and rows of identical empty warehouses. The camp was monstrous and almost mechanical; it had no signs of life, of civilization, just building after empty building. It was difficult to imagine how many men had crossed paths here, young, old, wealthy, poor, doctors, lawyers, laborers, all being given the saddest of all fates.

One of the most startling moments, for me, was one of the very first things we came across; the now iconic “Arbeit Macht Frei” wire sign, which directly translates to “labor makes you free,” referring to the physical labor that the sufferers in the camp were to believe would liberate them. But for the majority of prisoners in the camps, their only liberation was death, many of them dying brutally. One could only imagine the faces of the prisoners who saw this sign and understood their likely fates, or the many young children who could not even imagine what lay ahead.

We learned that very young children were almost always sentenced to death, along with their mothers, to prevent the new generation of Jews from surviving, which was awful to hear; I could not imagine a future so awful in which that could happen, or a man so soulless, who might have even has his own children, that he would give or execute such an order. This impression of this total lack of empathy or compassion on the Nazis’ part was horrifying, because it is hard to understand the circumstances in which this would be considered acceptable. Even now, it is obvious to see that we have moved forward in terms of acceptance of other faiths and races and we must preserve this tolerance in our society, but also promote it all over the world.

It is too late for the victims of the Holocaust, and one of the slightly uplifting things about the visit was the Oshpitztin visit, a graveyard for Jews, which clearly demonstrated to me that there was some respect for the Jews, and I was happy that someone had deemed them worthy to be given the blessing of a gravestone, of a resting place where their loved ones could come to mourn them. As we all know, there were far more victims of the Holocaust that could not be given the privilege of a burial, or a grave, but it gave me hope that even in a situation where so many acted so wrongly, there will be others who will do what is right.

Iranian Jewish Woman Stabbed To Death in Isfahan

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

A Jewish woman was stabbed to death in Isfahan, Iran, as part of an ongoing religious fight between the woman and her Muslim neighbors.

Tuba N., 57, was killed on Monday, following a long period of harassment of her family, during which Muslim neighbors tried to drive her from her home and take her property to use as part of the next door mosque.

UPI reported that the mosque even appropriated part of Tuba’s property, attaching it to the courtyard of the mosque.  The family appealed to the courts, but Tuba was murdered while her husband was away in Tehran, her two sisters tied up while the attackers stabbed her and then cut off her hands.

My Soul Is On Fire (Part I)

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Allan is a very troubled nineteen-year-old who has been coming to see me since August. Actually, I’m never sure if Allan will make it to the next appointment. Since we first met, I have been amazed at the amount of emotional turmoil and pain he is in. Every appointment seems to bring another “cry” for help. His anguish is noted by his constant crying and threats of harm to himself and others. In fact, he doesn’t seem to filter his words and randomly ensures that I know about his aggressive thoughts. Just last week he told me that nobody ever believes him when he is in pain and so he feels the need to show them – he says that he doused his hand in a flammable liquid and set it on fire just to show others how much pain he is in. (I don’t actually believe he did this, as there was no sign of his hand being burned).

Allan’s life is full of inconsistent events. He seems to have a support system in his parents but I have only met his father, who is very concerned about Allan. On the other hand, his father often feeds into Allan’s overly dramatic behaviours and, at times, seems to compete with him in regards to histrionic scenes.

Recently Allan said to me, “I’m in such agony; my soul is on fire.” What a telling statement – he feels overwhelmed, lonely, humiliated and like a failure. Now you know why I say I don’t know if he will make it to the next appointment. As it is beyond the scope of this article to discuss his situation further, I would like to focus on childhood and teen feelings of distress.

Telling kids that their teen years are the best years of their lives is not necessarily true. In fact, I often say that I would not like to be a teenager today. There is so much stimuli bombarding them at every moment, they so many decisions to make, and they deal with so much stress and expectations – with limited resources at their disposal.

A local Toronto radio station has as its motto, “Beautiful music for a crazy world.” I’m almost surprised with their honesty. It really is a crazy world we live in and it tends to make some people crazy, or at least feel as if they are. We are all bombarded with changes – some good, some not so good and others just difficult to understand. We struggle to the best we can.

For kids, often the level of stress or distress they deal with is dependent on their familiarity with the situation. When our environment is chaotic or fear inducing, we may have a hard time separating ourselves emotionally from what is going on around us. In fact, internally we become part of the chaos. We all adjust better to more familiar situations. That is, we learn to cope best with situations as they become more familiar to us.

Dealing with personal or family challenges is difficult in the best of times. For children and teens it’s even harder. Life for many young people is a painful tug of war filled with mixed messages and conflicting demands from parents, teachers, coaches, employers, friends and themselves. Growing up—negotiating a path between independence and reliance on others—is a tough business. It creates stress, and it can cause serious depression for young people ill-equipped to cope, communicate and solve problems.

Some experiences are more severe or long lasting, while some kids may react to setbacks in different ways. Children and teens may indicate to their parents or others that they are distressed or unable to cope directly, or more often, through various hints. Most common for a teen is to show his or her distress through changes in mood or behaviour, at home, at school or with friends.

The teen years are emotional, fascinating, tumultuous, exciting, fearsome, lonely and social at the same time and filled with angst over the ultimate question, “Who am I.” What I’m about to say is difficult for adults to hear as well as comprehend. Nevertheless, here it is: I believe that much of an adolescent’s rebellion is, in fact, part of the developmental transition from childhood to adulthood. Almost by definition, adolescence is a time of chaos and struggle for one’s self identity: He or she is no longer the dependent child. Teens go from relying on us (and most of us enjoying that role) to learning to make life changing decisions, becoming independent and a self-fulfilled adult. As they push us away and ask to be allowed to make their own decisions, and mistakes, they are using the only tool they believe they have to become self-actualized.

The Real Reason They’re Digging Up Arafat (Satire)

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

The news reports about why they are digging up Yasser Arafat are all lies! Read the below and you will learn the real reason the murderer is being exhumed today.

Last June a Swiss lab ran radioisotope tests on his the deceased mass murderer.

The Lab found “very small” quantities of polonium, an isotope that is naturally present in the environment. The quantities were higher than one would normally find in the environment, especially in Arafat’s underwear and hospital clothing ( I am not making this part up).

Suha Arafat, the despot’s widow and former “kissin cousin” of Hilary Clinton, called for an autopsy in the wake of the lab’s findings. She did not explain why she waited nearly eight years to have the belongings tested, nor did she explain why she doesn’t just release the report of the French doctors who treated him during his final days.

The fact is the polonium on Arafat’s “tighty whiteys” is an elaborate hoax. Polonium has a half-life of 138 days, which means every four-and-a-half months (give or take a day or two) only half of the radioactive substance would remains. The amount found on Arafat’s gown and boxers, eight years after his death translates to levels that would have infected his doctors and wife during his last days. In other words the polonium was added more recently than eight years ago.

The months before he died news reports showed Arafat looking frail and sickly. The rumors at the time ranged from Colitis to Cancer. His immediate cause of death was a massive brain hemorrhage according to the French doctors. After his death the rumors were that he died of AIDS.  We don’t know because Suha Arafat and the Palestinian Government have suppressed the actual medical reports.

Now if they reached into the gates of hell to dig up Arafat a month ago I might have thought they were doing it so he could vote for president, most probably in Chicago. But they are digging him up now

Which means the question still remains, why are they really digging up ole’ Yasser? There are only  four possibilities left:

  1. Its a set up—the Swiss lab will find that the dead terrorist was poisoned with polonium, and ignore the fact that the half-life of the substance makes it impossible.
  2. Ringo Starr is making a movie and wants to use the corpse as a stunt double.
  3. The cash poor Palestinian Authority is going to use Arafat’s body and make a movie, like “Weekend at Bernie’s.” That movie made over $30 million in 1989. Abbas believes a madcap romp with the always fun mass-murderer will make a blooming fortune in the Arab world. None of that money would be traceable, so the PA leadership would be able to steal all they want without any consequences. Just like they do now with foreign aid.
  4. Comedian Jeff Dunham is growing tired of Achmed. The PA intends to sell the body to Dunham and he will turn it into an new character: Yasser the Dead Terrorist.

Which ever way the Palestinian Authority goes, I can guarantee you one thing, lies will be told about Israel and the mainstream media will reprint them as if they were of divine origin.

Originally published at Yid With Lid.

Compare and Contrast: The Songs Israeli and Palestinian Kids Sing

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

See how Israeli kids cope with rockets being shot at them around the clock…and the songs they sing.

Here are the songs and poems the Hamas and Palestinian Authority teach their children to sing…

Visit the Muqata.

The Noose Around Israel’s Neck

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Israel is being hanged on a public gallows erected on the grounds of the United Nations with yards of rope gleefully supplied by the Muslim world. But the hangmen are mostly Westerners who still think that the Muslim lynch mob at their doorstep can be pacified with the death of a single victim.

There are three things you can do when you are about to be hanged. You can walk proudly, recite a glorious line or two to embed your martyrdom in historical memory, and then allow yourself to be hanged. Jews have an extensive body of experience with that brand of martyrdom.

Alternatively you can plead your case all the way to the gallows, arguing that a mistake has been made, that your case has been improperly reviewed, begging for someone to listen and do something. This way also ends in a hanging. But it’s the hanging of a slave without even a shred of dignity attached to it. A man that dies pleading with his murderers, and puts his fate in the honesty of the liars and hypocrites whose own crimes makes the worst of his look like virtues, is a craven fool.

Because there is really only one thing you can do when the noose is being placed around your neck. Resist. A noose works by tightening around your neck and cutting off your air or breaking your neck. If you resist the tightening of the noose, you may actually survive. On the other hand if you follow through all the procedures, if you allow your hands to be tied behind your back, and the noose to be fastened around your neck while trusting in the system to do right by you– your death is inevitable.

For seventeen years Israel has been walking toward the gallows. Its leaders have led it there by the nose ring of international assurances. Its people have been led there by refusing to see what is waiting ahead for them, even while the blood was being cleaned off the streets. Every attempt to reach a peaceful solution, every concession and show of good faith, has only tightened the bonds around its hands and the noose around its neck.

That is because every concession Israel has made, has further restricted not only its ability to defend itself, but even its ability to do basic things such as build residential housing in the capital of its own nation. Every gesture and agreement Israel has signed has bound it to ever more restrictive terms. And none of them have brought any peace. All they have ever done is set the bar higher for the next round of concessions demanded by the enemy and its aiders and abettors in the next phase of negotiations.

This is not a peace process, and it has never been one. It is a public lynching. It is the lynching of a country whose only real crime is that its existence offends the religious fanaticism and prejudices of a billion Muslims, who control much of the world’s oil, and whose followers are willing to riot and kill in the streets of nearly every major city in the world at the slightest offense.

The lynching began as a trial where the murderer wore a fine suit and his victim sat in an orange jumpsuit in the dock. Every day during the trial, the murderer would be allowed to leave the courtroom to kill again. And every afternoon he would return to the courtroom with bloody hands that the judge and jurors would pretend not to see. And if the victim dared to call attention to those bloody hands, he would be silenced and told that those murders too were his fault. Hadn’t he after all provoked the murderer into committing them?

Now the trial is coming to a close. The farce that the proceedings ever had anything to do with peace is unraveling. And we can thank Hamas and Obama for that. The endgame is all too clear. The undoing of that “mistake” which allowed the oldest and most persecuted minority in the Middle East to briefly reclaim their homeland from the tyranny of Muslim Caliphs and Sultans. To serve as a homeland for their persecuted brethren from the east and the west. From the south and the north. That mistake.

The Doll’s Tale

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Dear Readers:

The following short story is fictitious, but the situation of Jewish children during the Holocaust being raised by gentile families or in Catholic convents and orphanages is not. While some were re-united with family members who survived the death camps – many were not, and remain lost both physically and religiously. This story is in memory of all the lost children. May they be reunited with their families with the coming of Moshiach.

The Doll’s Tale

Nine-year-old Ruchi was not at all upset when her brother and cousins nicknamed her “Ricki.” She liked the sound of it and it certainly suited her – had it been up to her, she would have been a boy. Boys had more fun and never had to wear dresses and other girly clothes. Her brother Dovi got to wear pants, giving him the freedom to hang upside down on the monkey bars in the park, and to turn cartwheels – while she was prohibited from doing such fun things – because hanging upside down while wearing a skirt was not tznuisdik. After all, she wasn’t three anymore!

And then there was the matter of the ridiculous gifts she got on her birthday or from out of town guests. Dovi would always get a fun toy like a truck, while she, without fail, would be given a useless doll with a smile plastered on its plastic face. Ruchi’s only consolation was that forthwith, the dolls would become perfect targets for Dovi’s water guns or darts. Often they would play “barber” delighting at the pale, pink head that would surface, the outcome of the doll’s “haircut.”

Yet Ruchi was to gain a deeper appreciation for these plastic entities than she would ever had imagined.

The 180-degree change in her attitude took place when she and her family traveled to Israel for the bar mitzvah of the grandson of Bubbi’s older half-sister, Malka. Malka was a rare entity, a child survivor of the Holocaust. She had been born in Poland – unlike Bubbi, who had been born in Israel several years after the war had ended.

Sadly, Malka had passed away three years earlier, at the young age of 65, just months after her and Bubbi’s father. Malka had had a massive stroke, brought on, it was said, by her extreme distress upon losing her father.

Erev Shabbos, Ruchi watched in wide-eyed astonishment as the bar mitzvah boy’s mother lit the candles, hugging a very ragged, ripped up cloth doll. After her tefillah, she kissed it, as did her children.

“What was that all about,” she asked her 11-year-old cousin, Chana, as they lay in their beds that evening. “Why did your mom do that – is that a family minhag? It’s weird!”

It was then Chana told her the story that would forever change Ruchi’s view on dolls.

It was 1942, in Nazi-occupied Poland, and their great-grandfather, Shimon, was beside himself. It was only a matter of days before he, his wife and daughter would be taken out of the c transported to the camps. A former employee of Shimon’s dry-goods store, a Polish girl who appreciated her kind and generous boss, had sent word that her aunt, a highly-placed nun at the convent on the outskirts of town, would hide his child.

Shimon was torn between his desperate desire to save his child’s life, and the horrible thought of placing her in this completely foreign environment.

Two days before a mass deportation, Shimon surrendered his three year old, blond haired daughter, Malka, into the waiting arms of a nun. He and his wife had left her crying inconsolably, fiercely clutching a Raggedy Ann doll – a gift from a relative in America and her constant companion.

Three years later, a gaunt and battered Shimon returned to his town, alone; his beloved wife Zisel had starved to death. While he was incarcerated in Auschwitz, thoughts of finding his little Malka were what kept him alive.

Shimon had been hearing horror stories of Polish families that had been entrusted with Jewish children deliberately disappearing with them. Sometimes, even if the child was found, he, or she, refused to leave the only home he knew, denying any connection with the walking scarecrows who showed up claiming to be kin. The child would make the sign of the cross to protect himself from the sickly looking vagabonds who belonged to the people who had killed the beloved savior.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/on-our-own/the-dolls-tale/2012/11/22/

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