It is the first time my grandson Guy is attending the Yom Kippur service in the synagogue together with his parents Yael and Ken. After the sermon the Rabbanit is inviting the congregants to come to the Bima for the blessing, calling them up in groups. Those that are fasting for the first time, people who volunteer for various activities, some newcomers to the synagogue and other categories. Guy does not seem very interested in any of the groups, until the Rabbanit tells the story of the Rabbi in Ghetto Warsaw. It is Yom Kippur and he has succeeded against all odds in those terrible days to gather a group of people together and is holding a service. They pray and then he tells them in a choked voice that he fears that not many of them would survive to see another Yom Kippur. He blesses them and shortly afterwards the Ghetto is liquidated. After finishing this moving story, the Rabbanit asks whether there are any children or grandchildren of Holocaust survivors amongst her congregants, who can give a testimony of survival. Guy, who has heard the story of his grandmother who lived through the Holocaust and came out alive, jumps up and starts pulling his mother toward the Bima. Yael at first does not move – she would never come forward on her own volition – but she does not want to create a scene and draw attention to herself. She follows Guy, who is very excited. It is obviously important to him. Theirs is the smallest group and together they say the blessing. Guy is happy. In the end it turns out to be a moving experience for both of them.

Lucy Mandelstam November 2000