He Would Not Leave Them Alone

Janusz Korczak Monument, Jewish Cemetery, Warsaw. ©2018 Beth Ben-Avraham. From Wladyslaw Szpilman’s The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939-45:  One day, around 5 August [1942], when I had taken a brief rest from work and was walking down Gęsia Street, I happened to see Janusz Korczak and his orphans leaving … Continue reading He Would Not Leave Them Alone

Poland: Epilogue

This blog post, originally published December 26, 2018, is being reposted in memory of Professor Irene Eber, who passed away in Jerusalem on April 10, 2019. May her memory be for a blessing. Beth Ben-Avraham by the grave of Jakob Leimann, her great-great-uncle. New Cemetery, Kraków. We have an abundance of documentation concerning what life … Continue reading Poland: Epilogue

Warsaw: Final Leiman Hunt

The Warsaw Jewish Cemetery on Okopowa Street contains over 250,000 graves that are marked. The cemetery, founded in 1806, is huge. It occupies over 80 acres in Warsaw. The day before our visit to the cemetery, Beth accesses the database maintained by the Foundation for Documentation of Jewish Cemeteries in Poland. Her search for the … Continue reading Warsaw: Final Leiman Hunt

A Wise and Humble Language

Mausoleum of three Yiddish writers: Ansky, Dinezon, and Peretz. Jewish Cemetery, Warsaw. Eleven U.S. citizens have won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Bob Dylan won it most recently, in 2016. I still remember the first time I heard one of Dylan’s songs. It was “Lay Lady Lay.” I was riding in my car, listening to … Continue reading A Wise and Humble Language

Warsaw: Leiman to Datner

Detail from grave of Szymon Datner, Okopowa Jewish Cemetery, Warsaw, Poland. Wednesday, October 24, 2018 (continued): This is the second installment describing our visit to the Okopowa Jewish Cemetery in Warsaw. In this installment, we visit the grave of the distinguished Polish-Jewish historian Szymon Datner and trace the connection from Jakob Leiman to Szymon Datner. … Continue reading Warsaw: Leiman to Datner

Poland: POLIN – Ought and Can

Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw. Does knowing how something ends, a book, a movie, a life, for instance, affect our experience of the thing? The answer seems obvious. Of course, it does. Ought it to affect our experience? The answer to this question is not as apparent. “Ought” is a tricky … Continue reading Poland: POLIN – Ought and Can

Warsaw: Dinner and Davening

“Galil” is a transliteration from the Hebrew of a word commonly used to refer to an area in Israel better known to English speakers as “Galilee.” Galilee is a beautiful, mountainous region in the north of Israel. Jesus was a Galilean. In his time, Galileans spoke with a distinctive accent. Following the arrest of Jesus, … Continue reading Warsaw: Dinner and Davening

Warsaw: Trains and Memory

Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, Warsaw, Poland © Beth Ben-Avraham, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018: We take an Express InterCity Premium train from Kraków to Warsaw in the afternoon. We purchase first-class tickets because there are no second-class seats available on the train we want to take. I can’t recall ever traveling first class before … Continue reading Warsaw: Trains and Memory