I wrote an article about four years ago titled : “Anonymity “
I wrote about how we can remain anonymous in our Judaism and our connection to Israel or we can truly seek it out.
In Israel we are keenly aware of our Judaism, it is all around us, but in the USA and other locations in the world we have to make that effort to become and remain connected.
In the article that I wrote, I spoke of a young man that I had read about in the Philadelphia Jewish newspaper.
He was a student who attended a small university and somehow stumbled upon campus Jewish life, he was not originally looking for it, but found it and it found him.
H then took the opportunity to go to Israel, and to emerge from his Jewish anonymity.
Well, the world in all its vastness proved to be so small and so full of special surprises!
I was walking around my neighborhood one Sabbath afternoon, we were still in the throes of Covid, and I spot this young man that I had not seen around before.
WE started talking, he was a very friendly and kind person who was new to the neighborhood.
He started telling me how he attended a university in Pennsylvania and how he found his Judaism there, how he helped them develop a more substantial Hillel, and how after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting he joined a local Rabbi there to help put up new mezuzahs in the community
The more he told me about his life at the university and beyond, he began to sound so familiar to me. I suddenly realized that he was the student that I wrote about in my article.
He did spend time in Israel, and has travelled once again with his mother this past year. i It was her first time there, and he will soon be leading a birth right trip !
WE are friends now, he inspires me. I have had shabbat meals together and at his table i have met some of the elderly ladies whom he took care of during covid when he was living in a building prior to moving to my neighborhood.
I would just sit and hear the ladies tell about how he would food shop for them during covid and bake challahs and share with them.
He is not anonymous at all with his Judaism, and his adoration and connection to Judaism and Israel have grown and solidified.
You never know where life will lead you
but one thing is for sure
Judaism, Israel, its our passage from past to present to future.
As I write this on Erev Yom Hashoah, the daughter of a father who escaped the ashes of Nazi invaded Europe to Israel to then fight in the war of Independence of 1948.
A daughter of a mother who endured the atrocities of the Holocaust to finally enter Israel via Atlit prison camp
They suffered so much loss, yet were so full of joy and appreciation and a deep caring for all of humanity.
Their faith was fiercely strong, and they never let anything remain anonymous about Judaism or Israel.
This was infused in all of us and everyone they met.
Let us not forget to remember, and let us remember to not forget.