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Jewish School in South Florida - A Story of Perseverance

Yeshiva school South Florida: How to Impart the Message to Our Students

We at the Jewish School in South Florida know what it means to lose everything, we have already experienced that. Now we only lost property which can be replaced.

I’m sitting on a plane to pay a shiva visit to my mother after the recent passing of her mother, my grandmother. I’m 30, 000 feet up in the air looking out the window, and as I watch the toy-size buildings, my mind wanders to a big-picture topic. I start thinking back to the life of my grandmother, a survivor in the greatest sense of the word; she survived the Holocaust. She saw and experienced the worst of horrors. She used to say that when she got to Auschwitz, with all its infamy, she “kissed the ground” out of joy, because Majdanek, where she had come from, was much worse. After the war, she met my grandfather and got married, with no family or friends by the wedding, as they were all gone, their final resting place unknown. She started rebuilding her life in Sweden, with no therapist or antidepressants. After many years, during which they began to rebuild their shattered lives, they decided that for the Torah education of the children, they need to go to America. They boarded one ship, with everything they owned on another.

Thankfully they made it to NYC, but all their possessions on the other ship ended up on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. When my grandfather heard that everything was lost, he fainted, overwhelmed that he “lost it all. ” My grandmother’s reaction was, “We know what it means to lose everything, we have already experienced that. Now we only lost property which can be replaced. ” She continued to rebuild her life from scratch once more. She never complained or wanted to know why -she just did what needed to be done. Neither her daily debilitating migraines nor her horrors of the past ever stopped her from doing her very best. All who knew her comment on how happy and normal she was, and to us, the only scars of her past were the greenish numbers on her arm.

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