Following World War II, many Jews were confined to displaced persons (DPs) camps in Allied-occupied countries. Among them were my parents and parents-in-law.
The Lord, the Lord is gracious and compassionate, patient, and abounding in kindness and faithfulness, assuring love for a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, and granting pardon. -Exodus 34:6-7
I recently visited Majdanek, a concentration camp in Poland, with my classmates. Afterward, I wrote this piece - part poem and part essay - about what spoke to me there.
As a teenager, I would sit on my bedroom floor listening to old records of Belgian singer-songwriter, poet, and performer Jacques Brel. I didn’t need to keep a journal, because his lyrics wove together everything I felt at the time. Brel had a fire within, and his anger, longing, passion, and truth blazed through every word he sang. His music, raw and real, transformed and fed my soul; it informed and shaped who I am today.
There are people with hearts of stone; there are stones with human hearts.
-The Wall, by Yossi Gamzu
Guila remembers holding the prayer book for her father, who had cerebral palsy, every Yom Kippur. "What many might imagine to have been a dreary religious obligation was, for me, a highly emotional, touching experience."