Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Truffula Tree in Poland

It was just a month ago that we went to Poland. I find it interesting that people's reactions to our few days there is so different.

Our rabbi is fairly adamant about not wanting to go there again EVER. In terms of support and philanthropy, he will give money to Israel and Israelis any day of the week, but he's not so sure about support for Poland.

I came away with a deep sadness for what had happened there during the war. I was angry with the Poles who had not fought against the Nazi atrocities. I was uncomprehending of any remaining Polish anti-Semitism.

But I had seen and heard some positive things. I heard the story of the elderly Gentile woman whose family had hidden a Jewish family for two years. I met a young man whose sole purpose in life is supporting dialog between and among Poles, Israelis, and all Jewish people. I saw the above wall-size poster advertising a yearly festival of Jewish music in Krakow, despite the fact there are so few Jews there. Apparently the Poles fill the square for this celebration. I heard about young Poles who upon learning their families were once Jewish are choosing to reclaim their religion.

Although one cannot say that Judaism is alive and well in Poland, there are seeds which have sprouted and are now growing.

I couldn't help but think of Sr. Seuss's book The Lorax, which I recently read to the younger kids at the homeless shelter. It struck me that what is happening in Poland today is much like the resurgence of the beautiful truffula trees, which were completely wiped out until a single seed was found and planted.

Let's hope the seeds of Judaism in Poland will flourish. I would very much like to go back some day to dance and sing during that summer festival. The millions who died are lost forever, but maybe they left a heritage after all.


Blogger e said...

I love this post, and I know from the experiences of meeting and hearing from young Poles who visit my temple that much of what you say is true.

You asked for my reflections at Pasach. I always hope for peace in the world, and failing that, some modicum of peace within myself. I know that there are many forms of enslavement. Prejudice and hatred are two that leave lasting scars. Perhaps this generation and those that follow in Poland and other parts of the world will finally be free from oppression and the threat of violence or death.

7:25 PM  

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