A message from your loved ones for Yom Kippur

My hero,

Thank you.

You are giving me back my life.

I fought with all my might to see you in this place, during this special moment.

It has not been easy. I have been threatened, I have been sent away, I have been persecuted.

I ran away, I tried to hide myself, I pretended to assimilate, I needed to save my most precious belongings.

If you are here today, it means that my effort was not in vain.

If you are sitting here, in these chairs, it means that I won. It means that my attachment to what I am, my constant battles to not give up my religion, my connection to my ancestors’ identity, were stronger than the desire of my enemies to wipe me away.

If you are praying today, to the same G-d that I have always prayed to, if you are using the same words I have always whispered on this special occasion; If you are covering your son’s head with your prayer shawl or you are under your father’s talis, while the priests are filling the hall with their blessings.

It means that we defeated them. We defeated the Roman emperors, the Greek army,  the Inquisition, the Cossacks, the Nazis, and we are still here to tell our story.

Our survival is not insured by professions we have, nor the money we leave, nor the same family name we share.

Our survival is guaranteed by offspring who share, and live, and transmit our faith.

Today you are my hero.

You turned off your mobile phone while everyone else is still talking and chatting, you did not go to your office though your competitors are fighting their market race, you resisted all external solicitations, and you came.

Against all statistics and odds, you crossed this threshold again.

Thank you my son, my grandson, my great grandson. Thank you, my descendent, for not giving up, for listening to that deep level of your soul that shuts up and accepts everything, everyday during the year, but prevails and demands to be listened to today.

You are here, inside this synagogue, after thousands of years that our enemies tried to make us disappear.

You are the living proof that the adjective ETERNAL can be applied to us, human beings too.

Your words, your fast, your prayers, this time, that you were able to cut out from your weekly routine, are the ring that keeps the Jewish chain together.

Gmar Chatima Tova,

May you be sealed for a good year.

With Love,

Grandpa, Grandma, Your Great-Grandparents and the millions of Jews that history tried to wipe out.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

About the Author
Gheula Canarutto Nemni is a professor and novelist living in Milan, Italy. Her most recent novel '(Non) si può avere tutto' Mondadori 2015 tells the story of an Italian Orthodox Jewish girl and her challenges in the professional world in Milan.
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