Recently, the Patriot-News published an article of reflections on our fire and its aftermath. Our member, Michael Katzman, shared the article with a childhood friend who sent an inspiring response, which is shared below with permission. Thank you Michael and Steve.
Thanks for the e-mail. A beautiful account of coping with adversity, The description of dancing with the smoke-scented Torahs on Simchat Torah reminds me of a story of the Klausenberg Rebbi, Yekuiel Halberstam z”l.
After the war, he was celebrating Simchat Torah. During the hakafot, as the congregation was dancing with the sifrei torah, he paused and pointed to 5 young men. He then asked the members to lift them up and continue dancing as if they were Torah scrolls. He explained that when they were in Aushwitz, they were afraid the knowledge of Torah would be lost. Each man memorized 1 book of chumash, so that if they managed to survive they could reconstruct the Torah. He said this is the meaning of the living Torah.
Like the phoenix, we rise from the ashes and triumph in adversity.
Hope you’re all doing well and best wishes with your plans for a new shul.
Shabbat Shalom, Chazak v’Amatz,