** Webmaster Note: The following
is a translation from Hebrew by Laia Ben-Dov
as sponsored by George Zilbergeld.
Additional clarifications are provided in parenthesis ( ).
MEETINGS WITH FRIENDS
childhood and youth are like the nucleus hidden in the seeds of
sprout and bud at meetings between friends who have memories in
person bears the history of his life on his shoulders, but his
childhood, the beginning of his existence, is engraved in his
heart all the days of his life.
memories create a connection between people from the same city
for their entire lives, and if that is so in large cities, it is
even more so with regard to our small town, Vladimirets.
town, we were one large family, and everyone knew about the life
of his fellow man, his sufferings and his celebrations.
was cut off, and it is no more.Many of its sons are located in different countries, but
when they come as guests to us in Israel, we receive them like
brothers returning to their family.
and on days of remembrance, or at parties for guests, all of the
differences of position, all of the divisions and all of the
ceremonial manners disappear, and we see ourselves as we were in
those days, the days of our childhood and youth in our town.
several meetings with guests, sons of our town, from the
United States:Gedalyahu Volok, who is known as Charlie Wollak, a Jew
who has acquired property and has achieved honor in American
society, when he appeared for the first time in Israel with his Cadillac, as a
he met with us in the "Bustan" he came among us as the son of
the good-hearted woman, Sara Charna's Gedalya.The memories from our town arise and flood us:childhood, the
cheder and the
and Gedalyahu's mischief in Chanoch's cheder.And it is as if Charlie breaks out of all his
"Americanism," and again, it is Gedalyahu who is before us,
running from one to another with his camera, asking each one
about his life, and in our imaginations, we again see him in
Sara Charna's house.The entire scene, the house and the entire Volok family,
return to life before us, until that time when they left the
And I remember the meeting with Louie Rose and his wife Taivel,
and how they appeared at the reception we made for him.Louie Rose represented the committee from
Detroit, and in his speech he promised us
that the same way that the committee had supported us in the
past, it would continue to do so in the future.I remember how happy he made the audience with his jokes.
When Avraham Friedman, Zeev Friedman's brother, who was very
emotional about meeting with us, came to visit us in Israel and
told us in his vivacious Yiddish about everything that our
in America felt, we saw before us the home of Ben-Zion Friedman,
of blessed memory, with the samovar that was always boiling on
winter evenings and before dawn; in our imagination we saw the
Jew, the Torah scholar, who fulfilled the commandment of
visiting the sick all his life, who knew a bit of medical wisdom
and was like a member of the family in every house in the town.Ben-Zion Friedman and his entire family stood alive
before us.When we
met with "the Rosens," Feivish Rosen and his wife, Gedalyahu
Rosen and his wife and sister, we saw before us our town's
as they were called in our town. And we remembered other events and other impressions
from those days.
The joy of childhood and the terror of the Holocaust come
together at every meeting and every memorial that we hold.
And I remember the party in honor of Shlomo Eidelman and the
intimate party for Mr. Voron at Chaim Schwartzberg's house, and
more recently, the party for Susil and Nachman – Eliyahu Kotz'
sister and brother.
Man's nature is to cause death to be forgotten in many ways, in
order to escape from the feeling of destruction.
We all tremble at the recital of Kaddish
[the prayer for the dead] in memory of the martyrs, and we wish
to be comforted and shake off the sorrow and mourning by what is
renewed and created in our new lives in Israel and in the Jewish world.In every meeting of this kind of the people of our town,
and the Diaspora, it is as if we are cut off from the present
time, these days of dispute, of confusion and loss of direction,
and we are carried back to the content, innocent days of our
Every one of us, who carries in his heart his sorrow over the
loss of his family and relatives, would not be able to bear it
if he were totally alone.
We come out of these meetings somewhat encouraged, as people who
talked about the bitterness in their hearts, as if heavy stones
have been rolled away from them, and we again feel as if we all
had come back home together, to the large family of our town.