Elaine Rosenberg Miller


I remember seeing Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” as a child.

Many things about the event were unusual in my First Generation Holocaust survivor world.

First of all, uncommonly, my parents took my sister and I to a theater in Manhattan. We lived in Brooklyn at the time.

Second, that my parents took us at all! My dad was a workaholic busy building up his trucking and office furniture business and he rarely went on outings.

But there he was, that sunny day, waiting on line with the hundreds of others.

Thirdly, he purchased a glossy color souvenir magazines about the film. Things like that were generally of no interest to him.

From time to time, I wondered about the other people waiting on line.

We were all dressed in 1950s finery. I wore a stiffly starched and ironed dress over a puffy crinoline. The men wore jackets and ties, the women suits and hats.You couldn’t tell one ethnic group from the other.

Though I was unable to understand or articulate it, from an early age, I sensed that being the child of Holocaust survivors in post war America was a touchy subject.

My mother seemed to fear men in uniforms. She would cross the street when she saw a policeman.

I had a foot in two worlds.

All my relatives were displaced Jews and spoke in rapid-fire Yiddish or Polish.

And then there was the rest of the neighborhood. I sang Christmas songs and hymns in school. My favorite was one whose words were “There’s a church in the valley by a wildwood. No lovelier place in the dale. My heart … “ aomething something.

I didn’t understand then that “The Ten Commandments”’s story of deliverance from slavery and unification of a nation were themes that would to inspire the West for millennia to come. I may have even been anxious about revealing anything about Judaism. Perhaps I had picked up that secrecy “gene” from my home life.

My parents enjoyed the film.

They never told us that they had, I just knew.

But today, Passover week, 2024, after witnessing the blood lust against Jews on United States college campuses and the school administrations’ enablement of the “protestors” DeMille’s almost primitive special effects bring tears to my eyes.

I know things, have seen things.

About the Author
Elaine Rosenberg Miller writes fiction and non-fiction. Her work has appeared in numerous print publications and online sites, domestically and abroad, including JUDISCHE RUNDSCHAU, THE BANGALORE REVIEW, THE FORWARD, THE HUFFINGTON POST and THE JEWISH PRESS. Her books,, FISHING IN THE INTERCOASTAL AND OTHER SHORT STORIES, THE CHINESE JEW. THE TRUST and PALMBEACHTOWN are available on Amazon and Kindle.