Friday, April 22, 2016

The Power of our Youth

Tonight starts Passover. I think we all sometimes take for granted our families and these holidays.  Yesterday, my sister called me and told me about the amazing day my dad and her had.   My dad participated in the Metro West Holocaust Day. About 100+ high school students visited Metro West, in NJ, and toured their Holocaust Exhibit. Then, the students broke up into about 10 per table and had lunch with a survivor and got to hear their story. After lunch, one student was selected from each table and had the opportunity to get up and tell those assembled a little bit about their survivor. 

The young gentlemen that got up from my dad's table was a senior. He walked up to the podium, and without any notes, began to speak. He started with "I had the privlige of meeting Mark and learning about his amazing mother..." He then went on to recount my father's story, just from hearing it once!  Then he did something amazing. He put his hand over his heart, and spoke to the students directly to the student there. He reminded them that they all had mothers, most of the time they probably did not listen to their moms, gave them slack and talked back. But that they all had to remember, if faced with a life threatening situation, each one of their moms would do anything to make sure they survived. He asked each person there to go home that night and hug their mom, and tell her they love her. My dad and sister were so moved.

I was in tears when my sister told me this story. Make sure you tell your loved ones you love them, just because you can.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Together - A Journey for Survival

First, I want to thank all of you for following me, and reading my blog. It has been a journey, and the positive feedback has been overwhelming. It is now 5 years later and I still have people come up to me out of the blue to tell me how much they enjoyed reading the story. The next question, is when will I do more? When will I write the book?

Well, last year I decided it was time. I never really thought of myself as a writer. I know that is a controversial statement, but true. However, to see the affect I have had on people of all ages, how much the story of my grandmother inspired so many, I made the decision it was time to turn it into a book.

What a journey it has been. I thought I knew all the stories, oh how wrong I was... The amount of new information, and stories I learned through this process is astounding. And then I went back to my aunt, and got even more. It was not always easy. How do I explain this? Imagine your family. Your parents, your grandparents. How do you think of them? To me, it is just, you know, my dad, my Baba Sala. I don't think I ever really thought of them as people. People with a history, with a life they led way before I was even a dream. Of course I had heard some of the stories growing up, but they were just that, a story. It was not until I started going through the process of writing this book, that I had to face the reality that this was more than just a story. These were more than just characters I had heard about. This was real life. What happened during those dark cold nights? What were they thinking? What did they really have to do? How could they have truly survived?  These were all thoughts, and I had many more, that I grappled with every day. I have to admit, I have read this book probably close to a 100 times already. And each time I cry. It's not like I don't know the ending. I think it is because I start to put my self in their shoes, and it crushes me. Could I be as brave as them? Could I do what they did? I truly don't know.

I thought it only appropriate that the release date for my book, Together - A Journey for Survival, should be May 5, 2016: Holocaust Remembrance Day. Stay tuned... #Together the book, coming soon!