Hate is Our Enemy

Tuesday evening I went to the HeartStorm Farmstead where gracious owners Kim and Mike, Rabbi Raskin from Chabad of Southern VT, and Baltic Truth Holocaust Documentary, were hosting Holocaust survivor Elly Gotz, who was there to tell his miraculous story of survival. Gotz was 13 years old and living in Kovno (Kaunas) Lithuania when warContinue reading “Hate is Our Enemy”

From Švihov to Vermont

I have received another interesting email. Dear Mr. [sic] Rabbi Ilene Harkavy Haigh, Dear Mrs. Heidi Fishman,Last week our town has been visited by our native born Mrs. Nina Weil-Pelc again. Since 1968 she’s been living in Zurick, Switzerland. We were pleased about her wanting to see her birthplace again and being in a goodContinue reading “From Švihov to Vermont”

Family Matters

Hi there. My name is Abigail Sterne and I’m a distant relative living in the UK. My great grandfather was Kamil Lichtenstern…. I have recently been translating the diary of Oskar Lichtenstern which has been in the possession of my Great Aunt Gertrude Levitt, who is the youngest daughter of Kamil, and a first cousinContinue reading “Family Matters”

Švihov Torah Dedication

One month ago, I started a journey with a group of students researching a Holocaust Torah. Today, the torah was dedicated and officially took up residency at Shir Shalom in Woodstock, VT. I want to congratulate all these students for a job well done. Thank you! With everyone putting in a little time you wereContinue reading “Švihov Torah Dedication”

A Sacred Trust

What do you do when you get an email from your rabbi with the subject line, “HELP”? I say, “I’m not sure I can, but I’ll give it a try.” This is how another project started. The congregation I belong to, Shir Shalom in Woodstock, VT, has been gifted the permanent loan of a HolocaustContinue reading “A Sacred Trust”

A Book Proposal

When am I going to write another book? People ask me that a lot. I usually hesitate to answer because the next book just hasn’t germinated yet. I know I should write more, but that isn’t the stuff books are made of. I don’t want to write a should. I want to write something thatContinue reading “A Book Proposal”

Searching for Stories

My mother tells how Heinz Lichtenstern, her father, escaped a transport to Auschwitz in 1944. Notified that he, along with all men aged 16 to 55 then in Theresienstadt, would be leaving soon, he had said his tearful goodbyes to his family. At the transport, before boarding, Heinz once again showed the family’s Paraguayan passport.Continue reading “Searching for Stories”

An Unnecessary Divide

We live in a time of labels and hyperbole and I don’t like it. Too many groups are being defined by labels that are then used to stereotype and marginalize. This tendency has been brought to my attention with two particular groups since my trip to Switzerland. The groups in question are the Poles andContinue reading “An Unnecessary Divide”

Swimming to the Start

As I turned my head to catch a breath of air all I could see above water was the distant edge of the crater and sky. The infinity pool at Beresheet is situated on the cliff above the Ramon Crater, the largest makhtesh in the world. The day before we took a Jeep ride intoContinue reading “Swimming to the Start”

A Story of Notarization

Dave asked me what I knew about the letter of notarization that accompanied the falsified Paraguayan passport. “Nothing,” I replied, “but I’ll see what I can find out.” I looked again at the letter. The notary’s stamp was clear. I did some internet sleuthing and I found his son, Avner Herzfeld, living part-time in SwitzerlandContinue reading “A Story of Notarization”