Tuesday, April 23, 2019

From the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising to the Triumph of Israel

From the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising to the Triumph of Israel
A dramatic reading, with visuals

Based on text by Robert A. Adelson-adapted by Rabbi Norbert Weinberg with material from USHMM and other sources

Thank you to Robert A Adelson for permission to adapt his text for this presentation. For the original text of Haggadah
Hashoah, please go to:https://www.dropbox.com/s/jgq51ooihlj2w2p/HAGGADAH%20HA%20SHOAH%20by%20Robert%20Adelson.pdf?dl=0

This is available as a Powerpoint Slide Presentation. 

Opening Element
Paul Robeson sings the Partisan Song
Paul Robeson was the great operatic vocalist known for his efforts on behalf of African Americans and for social justice. He was also a great friend of the Jews. He paid tribute on June 14, 1949, at his concert at Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, to Jewish Holocaust victims, he reduced his stunned audience to tears by singing Hirsh Glick’s great anthem from the Vilna Ghetto, ‘Zog Nit Keynmol,” also known as “The Partisan Song,” in both Russian and Yiddish. The Politburo was not amused.

Leader: At our Seder tonight we read the Haggadah, the
 “telling” of the Exodus from Egypt and soon partake in our 
festive meal. We meet in confidence. Our lives are secure. 
However, for we Jews, this was not always so.
Reader:We recall now the Holocaust, in Hebrew, Ha Shoah
It was the planned murder of the Jews of Europe between 
1939 and 1945 by Nazi Germany and its leader, Adolph 
Reader: In the 1930s, most world Jewry faced each 
passing year with increasing dread. Fascist anti-Semitic
 regimes ruled most of Eastern Europe.  And worst of all, 
there rose the specter of the most virulent anti-Semitism 
the world has ever known—that of Hitler and Nazi 
Germany. Where the Nazi conquered, we Jews were 
singled out, hunted down, made separate from our 
Reader: We were forced to wear the Star of David. We
 lost every protection of the law. We faced every possible 
indignity.  If you had any Jewish blood or ancestry, you 
were the No. 1 target of hatred by the relentless Nazi state.

Reader: We were forced to give up our businesses and 
our life’s careers. Our possessions and family heirlooms 
were routinely looted. We were forced to leave our 
homes to move to overcrowded ghettos. We were 
systematically starved, subjected to slave labor and 
medical experiments. And when we didn’t die fast 
enough, the Nazis invented their new machines of doom
—the gas chamber and the crematoria.
Reader: By 1945, the Nazis had murdered 6 million 
European Jews. They represented 1/3 of the Jewish 
people: 1 Jew out of every 3 Jews in the world perished 
in the Shoah.

Reader: We were not military people. We had no chance 
to defend ourselves.
Reader: Yet despite everything against them, some Jews 
managed to fight back. We revolted in several of the camps 
and ghettos such as Treblinka and Sobibor. Starting 
Passover night in 1943, with few weapons and no outside 
support, we fought the German army for three weeks in the 
Warsaw ghetto. This is how it began, exactly 76 years ago, 
on the night of the Seder, April 19, 1943:

Reader In April the ghetto was rife with rumors of an
 upcoming deportation. Despite this, the Jews of the ghetto 
continued with their preparations for Passover. Some even 
baked matzot, obtained wine, and koshered their dishes in 
preparation for the holiday. On the 18th of April 1943, news 
arrived that the Germans had stationed an army in Warsaw
 and it seemed that the ghetto was to be liquidated. The 
members of the underground resistance movements went 
into high alert. That night the ghetto was surrounded. Many 
people had already heard of this from the reports of lookouts
 posted as a matter of course on the rooftops.

Reader : In the words of the survivors No one slept that 

night. Everybody spent the time packing the most necessary

articles, linen, bedding, food and taking it down to the 

bunkers. The moon was full and the night was unusually 

bright. There was more movement in the courtyards and 

streets than by day.(Tuvia BorzykowskiBetween Tumbling 

Walls, p.48)

Reader It was Passover eve, 1943, and we had arranged

 everything in the house in preparation for the holiday. We

 even had Matzot (unleavened bread), everything. We had 

made the beds… The policeman who lived with us always

told us everything that was going to happen… He told us, 

"You should know that the ghetto is surrounded – with 

Ukrainians. Tonight will not be a good night." He had heard 

this. We took all our belongings and went into the bunker.

 Why wait?  So we took what we still had at home, whatever 

food we had, everything, and went down into the bunker. 

And waited.(Testimony of Shoshana Baharir, Yad Vashem

 Archive, O.3/5469)

Reader On the 19th of April 1943, Passover eve, the

Germans entered the ghetto. This was the Seder in Rabbi Eliezer Meisel's apartment:

Amidst this destruction, the table in the center of the room 
looked incongruous with glasses filled with wine, with the 
family seated around, the rabbi reading the Haggadah. His 
reading was punctuated by explosions and the rattling of 
machine-guns; the faces of the family around the table were
 lit by the red light from the burning buildings nearby.

Reader: It took the German armies only six weeks to conquer France, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg but it took 28 days to subdue a rag tag army of 1500 armed with pistols and rifles

Reader:The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was nothing less than a revolution in Jewish history. Jews had resisted the Nazis with armed force. The significance and symbolic resonance of the uprising went far beyond those who fought and died. As the leader, Anielewicz wrote: My life’s dream has now been realized: Jewish self-defense in the ghetto is now an accomplished fact.…I have been witness to the magnificent, heroic struggle of the Jewish fighters. (https://www.britannica.com/event/Warsaw-Ghetto-Uprising

Leader: Hitler underestimated the resilience of the Jewish 

people and our ideals. We, the Jewish people, did not 

become extinct . Just as we rebuilt and renewed ourselves 

after the assaults of Pharaoh, Haman, Antiochus, and all

 who would destroy the Jewish people, our ethics, ideals and 

all we stand for, so again we renewed ourselves after the 

Holocaust. We saw the miraculous rebirth of the State of 

Israel on our ancient soil. We saw Israel grow to a strong 

democratic beacon to the world. In this land of America, we 

have built a thriving community, loyal,  productive and 

contributing to a nation that has welcomed us with open 


Together: As we remember the Exodus, so we remember the 6 million. As we were once slaves in Egypt, so tonight ALL of us are survivors of the Shoah. Ani ma’amin: It was the prayer of the camps. Ani ma’amin. Be’emuna shelema: I believe with complete faith in the coming of Justice to this world. With the Torah and the prophets as my guide, I will not give up our quest. I will seek justice and righteousness. I will seek to make this world a better place, for all people, today and tomorrow. To this, in their memory, I pledge myself. Ani ma’amin.
 Am Yisrael chai

Ani ma'amin,
Be'emuna shelema
Beviat hamashiach ani ma'amin
Veaf al pi sheyitmahmeha
Im kol zeh, achake loh
Achake bechol yom sheyavoh
Am Yisrael chai, od avinu chai!


Ben Gurion Declares Independance

Hatikvah: Barbara Streisand

Monday, April 22, 2019

Murder Masquerades as Righteousness

I posted these brief comments on Facebook, the first following the recent multiple bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter ,done in the name of Islam , and the second , earlier, following the mass shooting of Moslems in the name of "white supremacy."

Hatred is not the possession of any one religion, race or nationality. Mass murder is not restricted to one political ideology.  In the name of great ideals, for example, the last century saw the greatest shedding of human blood in all of history, all in the name of some grand goal- not just in the name of the master race, but also in the name of class struggle and the creation of Utopia.

( Original photo removed)

"Our hearts go out to Christians who entered their sacred place on the most sacred day of the year for them, Easter, only to be slaughtered and maimed in the name of God. Just as we condemned the killing of innocent Muslims in the Mosque in New Zealand, we must protest acts of murder against Christians that has been going on in many parts of the world. All of us, Jews, Christians, and Muslims must affirm that we can not allow in our midst, those who preach violence against others. We must all beware of the temptation to masquerade our inner madness in the garb of saintliness and noble causes. The previous century was already bloodied with the tens of millions of dead for the sake of the "class struggle" as well as for "race" "; we can't go down that path again." ( April 22)

( Original photo removed)

This week , in the Jewish calendar, is designated as " Shabbat Zachor." We are called to remember the attack of Amalek who attacked us as we left Egypt, when we were weak and defenseless. Amalek has become the paradigm for those who preach hatred of their fellow human being.
We work for the day when we erase the cause of Amalek, Sinat Hinam, Groundless hatred, of human beings, that it will disappear from among all peoples, of all races, nationalities, and religions.
We as Jews understand this all too well. ( March 15)