When I was an undergraduate, I spent a semester abroad in Germany. I was there, of course, to learn German: that was the express purpose of the trip. But I also had felt a need to go there to find out whether Germans were a different kind of people.
My mother is a survivor of Auschwitz. She lost her entire family there. The Holocaust is a tragedy that has been a major factor in my life, one that has driven my push for social justice.
When I left for college my freshman year, I was nervous about exploring a new Jewish community. However, I immediately felt at home as I walked into my university’s Hillel’s Conservative Friday night services and saw the Siddur Sim Shalom, the prayer book I had grown up with.
I remember the absence of sound,
deeper than silence
and more lonely,
like the moment just
all stretched and
except there was no time
so waiting was
Cafe Spindel is a quaint café in the center of Bad Segeberg, Germany that used to house a wool-processing factory. Because it was an unseasonably warm and sunny late summer day when I visited, our host, Pastor Martin Pommerening, suggested we sit outside.
Before 1933, life for the Jews in Europe was filled with rich Jewish culture. Jews often lived in shtetls (small Jewish villages) or chose to assimilate into secular society. For the most part, life was good – until Adolf Hitler.