“These I Recall”: Eleh Ezkerah 5775

Yom_Hashoah_candleNo matter how many Holocaust stories we hear, each one offers a uniquely profound view into the tragic time leading up to, during, and immediately following World War II. At this year’s Yom Kippur Musaf service, BJ members Barry Lichtenberg, Leslie Nelson and Shira Nadich Levin and Jimmy Levin recounted their relatives’ stories during the Shoah.

Les shared the story of his parents, George and Julia Nelson, and grandmother, Ethel Greengold, all of whom survived the Shoah. Their lives, which began in conventional ways during the first third of the 20th century in Europe, became remarkable sagas of perseverance, strength, hope, faith and survival.

Days after the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, Barry’s father, Zevulun Lichtenberg—then 19 years old—walked out alone from his family’s Warsaw home in what would become an uncanny flight to freedom. Carrying only a rucksack, a couple of zloty, and two buttered rolls, he headed east without knowing what was to become of him or the family he left behind, whom he never saw again.

Rabbi Judah Nadich, Shira’s father and her husband Jimmy’s father-in-law, was the senior Jewish chaplain in the European theater during World War II and instrumental in helping displaced Jews after the war—some of whom were initially forced to share their camps with Nazi prisoners of war and almost all of whom were confined behind barbed wire. As an Advisor on Jewish Affairs to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Rabbi Nadich visited the Displaced Persons (DP) camps in the American zone, bringing David Ben-Gurion with him on one such visit, and directly advised General Eisenhower on how to improve conditions.

Like the points of light that make up a hologram, each of these stories represents an information recording of the “original scene,” allowing us to view it from a range of different angles, as if it were still present.

Barry, Les, Shira and Jimmy are grateful to Rabbis Roly, Marcelo and Felicia, and Ari, our Hazzan, for weaving the lives of the six million Jewish martyrs into the tapestry of the Yom Kippur service. They also thank BJ member Myriam Abramowicz, the inspiring leader of BJ’s Holocaust programming, with whom they worked on their texts. And finally, they thank all BJ members for bearing witness to the story of each of their relatives.

You can bear further witness by reading the stories that you were not able to hear during services by clicking here.