Friday, May 16, 2008

The Polish comeback

The story of my friend M. from Machon Meir is one of the few inspiring stories that I use to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

His parents were orphaned at the start of the WWII, and taken in by Catholic church, where they were raised, educated in the relative life of plenty and peace. They grew up as gentiles and devout Christians. When my friend M. was born they logically dedicated him to be a poster boy for Vatican. Which he did grew up to be - blond, tall, typically Polish Catholic intellectual.

As he enjoyed the company of leading cardinals, academic monks and other secular Polish intelligentsia, he started to be inquisitive. Encouraged to question the origins of faith, my friend M. corresponded with heads of leading monasteries and prominent leaders at the Vatican. Eventually, when he was 19 or 20, he deduced that there were spiritual inconsistencies in his family life and background. Innocently, he asked simple but hard questions, - isn't it true, he and his parents are not usual Poles? What happened to the Jews of Poland? What did we Poles do to them during the war? Where are the Jews now? and the rest of why, what , and when questions.

His parents were cool and self-composed, and told him the truth. They were Jewish.

My friend M. got the shock of his life, and, he told me, filled in the blanks so he did not to ask any further. He knew what to do. He tore the cross off his neck, and threw it away, along with his liturgical accessories he wore during Catholic services.

After that, he did need to be alone, though. He said he cried for hours, out of something that felt like anger, and then out of happiness. Eventually he came out of his room and said to his parents that this was the happiest day of his life,

Having never been told, or having never a clue of his being Jewish, he emphatically stressed to me that he always, deep down suspected that he was a Jew, but thought it was a fleeting fantasy caused by religious learning.

Soon aftet the revelation, he contacted the local Jewish community, and, having found the miserable Warsaw synagogue, was told he was better off going to Israel and study Torah.

He got in touch with the Aliyah office and in no time he was on the blue-tailed plane flying to his own land, where he entered Machon Meir, which he soon finished, and started going out on dates. He said he hated being blond, Polish, and hoped he married a woman who would produce him Jewish-looking, dark-haired children.

He did get married, and I haven't seen his kids to see if his wishes got fulfilled in this respect too. Last time I heard he lived happily in the enemy squatter-occupied Jewish land apportioned to the tribe of Ephraim, in the town of Maaleh Levonah.

Good shabbos.

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