By now you have already gotten more of a glimpse into the world of the Jews of Poland and how they might have lived before the Shoah and the magnitude of the tragedy that was the Holocaust. I am sure there are so many emotions and thoughts that you must have and even questions they may never be satisfactorily answered.

However, as you are just before Shabbat and as we know on Shabbat, all forms of Avelut is forbidden, I wanted to focus this short message of perhaps what your thoughts should be going into Shabbat and hopefully it will make it more meaningful for you.

You have the priviledge to spend Shabbat in a city that is close to my and Mommy’s hearts as it is the place we know as the birth city of our Grandparents. As you prepare for Shabbat and then come to Shul, Daven, Sing Shalom Aleichem, eat the Seudat Shabbat and sing Zemirot, I want you to think of the millions of Jews that have done the same thing in this same place for hundreds of years. Picture the faces of the people that were there in the shul and think about how just 65 years ago the Jews there thought that this would be their last Shabbat on earth and more so that this city would never see another Jew yet alone a Minyan.

Focus on the fact that the people responsible for the killing of six million Jews never imagined that not only would they fail in their mission to eradicate the Jews but that just 65 years later we are now privileged to be living in our homeland with the freedom and power to visit and pay respects to the millions that were murdered for the sole reason that they were Jews.

Think about how the Jews of Lodz used to sing and dance on Shabbat much like you are about to do, and that now after the greatest Jewish tragedy since the destruction of our Bet Hamikdash, there are more Jews in Israel than were killed in the Holocaust. Think about when lighting the candles this Shabbat you are there as a symbol of our eternal flame and that your Tefilot, and presence there is a spark that is now part of the greater torch of the Jewish nation in Israel.

This Shabbat let the walls of Lodz and the Jews who are buried in the camps in Poland hear the voices of our survival. Let the streets of Poland know that despite the greatest efforts the flame of the Jewish people is burning bright. Our nation and homeland has since grown into a world power, and we have returned to our homeland to become a light among the nations of the world.

Think about what your presence means there and make this Shabbat one of the most special that you will have in your life.

As I am not there with you let me leave you with the Bracha I give you every Shabbat.

ישימך אלהים כאפרים וכמנשה.יברכך ה’ וישמרך,יאר ה’ פניו אליך ויחונך,ישא ה’ פניו אליך וישם לך שלום.