A memorable day - Livre d'Or








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livredor
A memorable day
Monday, 28 August 2006 at 10:15 pm
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Today I did something I've never done before: I laid tefillin in public. There are a number of reasons why I haven't done this before, and a number why I decided to do so now. I am not going to discuss them until I've got over being deeply embarrassed by the whole thing.

I didn't have a chance to get all introspective over this, though, because a really amazing visitor turned up to synagogue. An elderly Lithuanian Jew who decided to stay in Lithuania after the horrors of Nazi occupation, waiting patiently through the equally horrific Soviet period for some Jews to come and find him so he could tell his story. The Jews who eventually did so happened to be Swedish, and brought him to Stockholm to bear witness. He was speaking in Yiddish, partially translated by the community into Swedish, both of which are languages I can vaguely guess at but no more than that, so I only got the rough gist of what he was saying. Family and friends murdered by Russian troops... viewed the Germans as liberators at first... Jews more frequently shot on the spot in Lithuania and buried in mass graves there rather than sent to the death camps... Jewish tombstones dating from the 14th century used as building materials... surviving family now in Israel and South Africa. The community asked him to lead us in the mourners' prayer, the Kaddish, which he did, somewhat stumblingly, and he commented afterwards that it was the first time in fifty years that he had prayed with a Jewish community.

Then I went to work and had a good knock-down argument with my boss. In some ways I had a similar sort of creative relationship with boss S back in Dundee, but my current boss is less likely to need reminding that he isn't my mother. So now I'm all buzzing with ideas and plans. I also discovered a note that someone had found the incubator broken on Friday and rescued all my cells, for which I am deeply, deeply grateful.

I really wanted to spend the train journey home reflecting on all this, but ran into Milo so I had to be polite to him instead. And I've spent what was left of the evening buying and preparing food so I can feed ploni_bat_ploni tomorrow.

I should probably talk about how I spent the weekend too, but I'm overwhelmed and also tired. Oh, I'm really getting into ellen_kushner's Swordspoint at the moment.


Whereaboooots: Stora synagogan, Stockholm, Sweden
Moooood: indescribableindescribable
Discussion: 6 contributions | Contribute something
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smhwpf: No power
From:smhwpf
Date:August 29th, 2006 12:03 am (UTC)
3 hours after journal entry, 01:03 am (smhwpf's time)
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What an extraordinary and moving story.

Icon love!
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livredor: likeness
From:livredor
Date:September 5th, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC)
7 days after journal entry, 08:15 pm (livredor's time)
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I've come across some other Survivors who chose to stay in the place where they grew up, even as the only Jew left there, waiting to tell their story. In a lot of these places, decades of Communism got in the way of that and they're only being discovered now. It is an impulse that absolutely amazes me, and yes, it is really moving to hear these stories. Inevitably, personal stories have a greater emotional impact than general historical facts about the Holocaust, which we have all heard too many times anyway.

Glad you like the icon, too; it was something of a joint effort between me and darcydodo. I wanted something for Jewish-themed posts and comments that wasn't either a star of David or a menorah, and that's what we came up with.
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snjstar: default
From:snjstar
Date:August 29th, 2006 08:17 am (UTC)
11 hours after journal entry, 08:17 am (snjstar's time)
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Sounds interesting what the man told you.

Mazel tov for laying tephilin in public.
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livredor: likeness
From:livredor
Date:September 5th, 2006 08:17 pm (UTC)
7 days after journal entry, 08:17 pm (livredor's time)
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I'm not sure interesting is quite the word; it's too horrifying to be that. I only wish my Yiddish were less patchy so I could have understood and repeated his story properly.
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quizcustodet: default
From:quizcustodet
Date:August 30th, 2006 10:07 pm (UTC)
2 days after journal entry, 10:07 pm (quizcustodet's time)
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Somewhat aside from the point at hand, thank you for the link to the FAQ on Judaism - it cleared up a question I'd been wondering about for a while without ever getting quite enthused enough to seek an answer energetically. (I was wondering why the tombs in the Jewish Cemetary in Prague were adrift in small stones)
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livredor: default
From:livredor
Date:September 5th, 2006 08:20 pm (UTC)
7 days after journal entry, 08:20 pm (livredor's time)
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Judaism 101 is a fantastic site. It's even relatively neutral, which is almost a miracle. And I'm glad you found the info you were looking for about stones on graves.
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