Memory and tomorrow

shoa

This is Betty Schimmel’s story. Her crossing with bare feet the iced land of Hungary during a snow storm. Her arrival to Buchenwald, a place which her enemies hoped she will never survive. This is her mother’s story. A woman whose nostrils were full of ash coming from burn souls and whose mouth did not stop to repeat every night, through lices, illness, murders and death, the words of the Shema Israel. This is Emma Tedeschi’s story. An Italian Jewish lady who took pen and paper during October 1943 and wrote. “Dear children, consider these words as my last will. I beg you, all of you, please, do not surrender. I know, there is dark and pain there outside. But if you let go everything, if you don’t hold strong to your faith, you will help our enemies achieving their goal. Don’t forget our traditions, don’t stop leaving as Jews. This is the only way we can survive this hell.” This is Elie Wiesel’s story. A man who lost all his family between Auschwitz and Buchenwald. The story of a person who denied G-d’s existence with all his anger and tears. A man who, full of his disbelief, decided to circumcise his son. Months and years brought him to decide. “I will never deny my forefathers heritage. I am not allowed to break the chain transmitted by one of my ancestors, Rashi, Rabbi Shlomo Itzchaki. And I cannot betray the trust my forefathers put in me. I will go on complaining against G-d, as Jeremiah in his pages, but I will also call Him and love Him”. This is the story of a nation that was tested by story more than any other one. People who dag secret tunnels six hundred years ago and prayed to G-d from the depths of earth. Lost souls who during 1942 went around looking desperately for potatoes. They were intended to become food for empty stomachs which hardly received one or two breadcrumbs a day. They were meant to engraved. In order to become the right place for Chanuka lights. This is the story of men, women and children, who, during history span, did never desist. But went on fighting against dark and evil through circumcisions, the observance of shabat and prayers to G-d. Ani Maamin, I believe in you, were their last words. Jewish eco can be heard through eternity only in one way. Going on in the same thoughts, actions and words that our proud and stubborn forefathers tried with all strengths to transmit to us, today.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

What can I do for you?

Dear soldier  sitting there on the heights of your land while waiting for an order. With black color on your face for hiding yourself in case of war. With your heart beating for the fear of hurting an innocent life. Dear soldier full of anxiety and tension. With your eyes closed and the thought directed to your mother’s smile and embrace full of apprehension and worry. With your heavy shoulders of a responsibility that no one has in the world, at your age. With your  rolled sleeves and the tfilin on your arm while directing your heart to G-d. Dear soldier I think of you while you sit there during the cold of the night. While the radio plays together with the noise of the rockets thrown by an enemy that shouts “ we love death as you Jews love life”. While your soul is trembling because you know you are there, to defend the future of your people. I think of you. And I would like, really like, to do something for you. For all the soldiers, for my and your nation, for the members of my family who have fifteen seconds since that sound breaks the sky, to run and save their lives. I would like to be part of this clash between opposite ways of intending man and the reason for which he is in this world. I cannot wear a military uniform. Nor I cannot take a weapon in my arms. But I know, I truly know, I can help you though I am far. Because we both belong to a nation which is able to fight not only through weapons and strenght. A nation which is able to break all natural rules, winning enemies which are more numerous and powerful than it. We have a secret ally. Who is able to turn upside down all the situation in a few instants. Who is able to decide if a rocket will explode in the hands of the enemy who is preparing it or it will fall in the middle of the sea instead that on a building full of families. In order to help you I know I need to call for that secret Ally once again. Doing something more between all the things He commanded us to do in this material world. More tzedakà, some more kosher, more prayers and shabat. More Torah study moments and concentration of our children education. Dear soldier, dear brother who lives in Israel, may our awakening be appreciated by our Eternal Ally, and may He protect us from the hands of everyone who wants to harm us. Amen.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

When a Rebbe changed a world

It was not easy to stand for 10-12 hours, smiling at and blessing the person who was standing in front, as it was the first and only one. While there, just behind that man or woman, the was a queue that arrived four blocks further.

Being a leader means giving a special value to each person.

It was not simple to receive hundred and hundred of letters every day and answer to each one as it was written by your best friend.

Being a leader means being able to listen.

It wasn’t usual to send just married couples at the other limit of the world with the only goal to awaken and renew judaism between people who forgot who they are.

Being a leader means to be able to convince people they can really change the world.

Not everybody accepted the idea of putting tfilin around an arm able to bring non kosher food to its mouth and switch a light during shabat. An arm so important as the person to whom it belonged only because it was jew.

Being a leader means to love everybody and not judging anybody.

It was not a common scene to see prime ministers, presidents, generals and scientist all coming to take an advice from the same person. Who usually was not even graduated in the topic he was giving precious advices about.

Being a leader means to be searched for your wisdom and ability to solve impossible problems.

Not everybody is able to pray for the sake and healing of people never seen before. With the same concentration and devotion as a father does for his son.

Being a leader means to care for every single member of the group. More than for you.

Not everybody had the courage to speak and shout about the right of Israel to keep all its lands for itself. And the absolute danger there is in giving a piece of land in change of something our enemies really don’t want. Though international pressure and political wars, Israel had to stand for its right to exist without compromises and mean ways.

Being a leader means to do something that most of the people are scared to do.

No one was speaking of mashiach, of better times, of prophecies becoming true of bottons to shine as the last step for the redemption.

Being a leader means to have a vision and being able to share it with the whole world.

Leaders are there because there is work to do.

There are people who need, problems to solve.

Challenges to undertake, dreams to be shared.

Leaders know when it’s time to light on a candle instead of staying there criticizing the dark that is everywhere.

A leader is there 24/24, 7/7 to serve his people.

These are only a few features of a person who dedicated every minute of his life to make this world a dwell for G-d and a better place for life.

Rebbe, may we deserve to see you again with our flesh eyes.

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Will your grandchildren be Jewish?

Go around and look. For a logic reason for Jewish survival. Look for the explanation through the physical boundaries of a land that has been dreamt for thousands years but reached only some more than a half century ago. That land so yearned was a common denominator for Jews spread all around the world. But even without living there, even on the opposite sides of mountains and sea, even so far away, Jews could exist. That land explains partly the secret. But not all. Shift your attention on the Jewish culture. The way of writing, the ability of looking at the daily troubles with humor lenses, the courage of asking questions and trying to find a philosophical answer, the usage of musical notes to transmit hope. That culture was a common denominator for that nation which you could find in the four corners of the earth. But even those who did not know how to write a nice novel, to compose a touching melody, or repeat by heart Aristo’s quotes, could survive thorough time and pogroms. That culture explains only partially that above the nature phenomena. Pick up the Hebrew language. Its unique characters, its infinite combinations, its high diffusion among Jews, its being the Esperanto ancestor. Many Jewish families spoke this language. But, through history, many even did not. And though, even if they spoke Spanish and Ladino, Yiddish and French and could not understand the meaning of many Hebrew words in their prayer books, they were able to go on breathing through history and centuries. That language used to create the world can explain only a part of that irrational happening. Open and read. A research article conducted by Antony Gordon and Richard Horowitz a few years ago. In which they try to find an explanation for Jewish survival. Through statistics, numbers and graphics. In which they try to find out the secret combination, that magic common denominator that made the Jewish nation arrive until now despite all prognostics. In front of a big crowd, of intellectuals and professors, they stand on a Harvard podium and declare. That there is only one way for guaranteeing your grandchildren will be Jewish. And it consists in going on and teaching to respect Shabat, keep kosher, put on Tefilin. In one simple sentence, staying attached to mitzvoth. If you want to answer yes to this question, just rinse down your family ground with that gift given to Moses on Mount Sinai more than 3,300 years ago: the Torah.

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