Tzemach Yehudah Richter
Tzemach Yehudah Richter

 The Tale of 3 Dresses, 1 Red Coat & Shabbat Nachamu

With the Cuban Crises making headlines in Miami, the Surfside Collapse has been pushed into the background. But there are many stories that still need to be told.

Dress One – Judy Spiegel’s Dress Worn At Daughter Rachel’s Wedding- One story appeared on many news outlets detailing the final phases of the Surfside Miami search crews’ attempt to recover any valuables or human remains from the remaining rubble at the site.

The following link takes you to the version appearing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

Of particular interest are the final two paragraphs which read as follows-

“All my parents’ stuff over a lifetime is gone,” Rachel Spiegel said. “Their wedding album is gone. My dad’s wine collection is gone, all my mom’s jewelry, all my mom’s clothes, the dress she wore at my wedding that I wanted to wear one day. All of their belongings are gone. We have nothing.”
Rachel Spiegel, who lost her 66-year-old mother, Judy Spiegel, in the collapse, hopes the crews will find her family’s mementos. Her mother’s remains were recovered Friday.


Dress Two – Nava Applebaum’s Wedding Gown

Here is a Blog I wrote May 27, 2020, about Nava and Dr. David Applebaum killed together in the Jerusalem terrorist attack at Hillel Café on September 9, 2003.

The first picture shown is Nava’s wedding dress which has become an eternal covering for Kever Rachel.

Dress Three – Scarlett’s Dress

The following story describes the successful search for a special dress Judy Spiegel wanted to buy for her 4-year-old granddaughter Scarlett-

Rachel shared the emotional final conversation she had with her mom, detailing the search for a special dress she had seen for Scarlett at Target, but it was sold out. Instead of hesitating, Judy searched on-line and located the dress.

Sadly, Judy never was able to see what she had bought for Scarlett being worn by her granddaughter. A few days after the collapse the dress arrived.  “Last night the dress arrived,” Rachel wrote. “We went to the front door and got the white bag with the big red bullseye…we just knew.”

The Girl In The Little Red Coat That Featured In The Movie “Schindler’s List”

The Girl In Red

While the film is shot primarily in black and white, a red coat is used to distinguish a little girl in the scene depicting the liquidation of the Kraków ghetto. Later in the film, Schindler sees her exhumed dead body, recognizable only by the red coat she is still wearing. Spielberg said the scene was intended to symbolize how members of the highest levels of government in the United States knew the Holocaust was occurring, yet did nothing to stop it. “It was as obvious as a little girl wearing a red coat, walking down the street, and yet nothing was done to bomb the German rail lines. Nothing was being done to slow down … the annihilation of European Jewry,” he said. “So that was my message in letting that scene be in color.”[54] Andy Patrizio of IGN notes that the point at which Schindler sees the girl’s dead body is the point at which he changes, no longer seeing “the ash and soot of burning corpses piling up on his car as just an annoyance.”[55] Professor André H. Caron of the Université de Montréal wonders if the red symbolizes “innocence, hope or the red blood of the Jewish people being sacrificed in the horror of the Holocaust.”[56]

The girl was portrayed by Oliwia Dąbrowska, three years old at the time of filming. Spielberg asked Dąbrowska not to watch the film until she was eighteen, but she watched it when she was eleven, and says she was “horrified”.[57] Upon seeing the film again as an adult, she was proud of the role she played.[57]

Key Lesson Learned

Just Like Scarlett’s Grandma Was Always There For Her, We Must Put Our Faith And Trust In G-d Who Is Also There For Us

Rachel shared Scarlett’s response in an interview with CNN when Scarlett was made aware that Judy was missing in the collapsed building. “She told me ‘I can go get her, I want to go get her, because I know where she hides, I’m really good at finding her, ‘Rachel shared. “And so when she’s telling me that, I’m crying even more, but trying to keep my composure because I don’t want my 4-year-old to worry too much.”

“Scarlett told us that Grandma is really good at playing hide and seek and is probably hiding in a really good spot,” Rachel wrote of her 4-year-old, Scarlett. “I told her that she is and that we have asked a ton of people to help us look for her. We told her that I have been on the news asking for help.”

The Surfside Miami Memorial To All Victims

Both Dresses Should Be Included-

Judy Speigel’s dress she wore at Rachel’s wedding will be an eternal symbol to all those who visit the memorial of the concern Judy showed for all her fellow Jews. And it will also provide a reminder of that wedding dress covering Rachel’s Tomb outside of Jerusalem that Nava Applebaum never had an opportunity to wear at her wedding.

Scarlett’s dress symbolizes the love Rachel and Rachel’s daughter had for her family and her absolute faith that no matter what anybody told her, she was determined to find where her grandmother was hiding. Scarlett was innocent just like the young girl in the red coat pictured walking in the street unaware of the danger around her as Jews are being shot.

And because Scarlett shows such determination at such a young age, Scarlett along with all families affected by all tragedies should be comforted and rewarded in the years to come with only simchas and brachas.

With signs of peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors becoming a reality, we could be on the verge of witnessing more miracles in the world that results in the destruction of our enemies.

Perhaps that is why Scarlett’s dress was out of stock and allowed Judy to add to the many good deeds she did during her lifetime by searching, finding and buying Scarlett’s dress which arrived after Judy perished.

The message should be clear that if you have an opportunity to do a good deed and perform mitzvahs, it should be done now and not wait for some time in the future.

About the Author
Born and raised in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. Married to a South African, we lived in Johannesburg from 1979 to 1996. Made Aliyah with our seven children on Parshat Lech Lecha. BSB Accounting Degree from the University of Minnesota. Investment Portfolio Manager /Fundamental And Technical Analyst. Wrote in-depth research on companies, markets, commodities for leading financial publications. Served in the US Army Reserves Semi Retired spending quality time with my wife, children, grandchildren and attend Kollel while analyzing current events as they relate to Torah and Mitzvahs.
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