My family and I are currently visiting family in the US. As my wife was going through some of her things at her dad’s house, she came across something she wrote when she was 14 years-old. It touched me when I read it, and thought it is worth sharing.
They stood there bare and naked to the bone. Shivering from the cold, aching from the hunger. It had been days since they had seen food, sunlight, and taken in fresh air. Now with their heads shaved and pride taken, they huddled to keep warm.
One little girl looked at her mother and questioned, “Why mommy, why did they do this to us?” The mother looked down sadly and replied, “My child, I do not know why, but listen close and I will tell you a secret. Remember the good times of playing and laughter of holding each other close and talking after. The hours of cooking for a large family meal where empty round stomachs were always healed. Where playing Dreidel goes on for hours, and reciting the prayers from the Torah will always be ours. Remember my child of the little old Rabbi, with his long white tallis and little blue kippa, solving everyone’s problems, which was always a mikvah. Our culture is abundant with family traditions passed on from generation to generation, like a secretly kept mission. We were slaves driven through the desert that rose up and thrived. Through history we have been persecuted and thrown out of our homeland. But look who came back through it all, we are God’s people and we stand tall. So my darling, let them take your home, food, and hair. Look inside your heart and find who’s there! You are a Jew and Jewish you will always be. Don’t be ashamed of who you are, remember I love you and they’ll never take that from me! So be brave my little Shana Madala, look up, don’t cry, keep next to me, I’ll be by your side.”
They walked to the showers, hand in hand, but were never seen again. Remember their stories, tales, and souls. Don’t let it happen again, pass it on, and let it be told!