Photo Credit:
Judge Karen “Chaya” Friedman

The man I admire and respect most in this world was willing to die for the “particulars.” His steadfast belief in God translated into a strict observance of the details – before the war, during the war, and after the war. No change. No divergence. No distractions. That knowledge has always made a deep impression on me. For him, the tradition is a living, breathing entity to be passed from him to his children, to his grandchildren, and so on. Knowing that it has been successfully passed on was the ultimate victory over the Nazis for him and his generation.

How dare I rob him of that? How can I turn my back on that kind of dedication? I cannot and I have not. My observance and my transmittal of the heritage – including the “particulars” – is my gift to him and to his generation. My grandparents have taught me that it is not the devil that is in the details, but God Himself.


This essay is adapted fromGod, Faith & Identity from the Ashes: Reflections of Children and Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors, edited by Menachem Z. Rosensaft, 2014, Jewish Lights Publishing (


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Karen “Chaya” Friedman is an associate judge of the Circuit Court of Maryland for Baltimore City and was previously an associate judge of the District Court of Maryland. In 2010 President Obama appointed her to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. Judge Friedman was chosen three times as one of “Maryland’s Top 100 Women” by the Daily Record newspaper.