Torn

     This past Motzei Shabbat we had the opportunity to watch the fascinating documentary of Jakub Wexler - Torn. For those of you who are not familiar, it is a story about a Catholic priest, who discovers  he was hidden throughout the war and he is in fact.... Jewish. He has since moved to Israel and now works in Yad V'shem.

     Last year in August, I had two concerts during the Jewish Culture Festivals in Poland. One was in Krakow, the other in Tarnow. Having a few days in between, I utilized the time to visit some holy Kevarim and do some touring. When I arrived in Rimanov, my tour guide drove me to what appeared to be a church. I tried to be polite and said, excuse me, are we going to the 'Jewish cemetery'? Are we not going to see the remains of the beautiful Shul of the great Tzaddik Reb Mendel of Rimanov. With a twinkle in his eye and a heavy Polish accent, he replied, 'I need to get the key from the priest....'

     The tour guide rings the bell. Out walks the elderly priest, fine white hair and collar in place. He extends his hand warmly. 'Shalom! Ani Yaakov ben Yosef'.

     You guessed it! He had a similar lot. A war orphan, grew up a devout Catholic and only recently discovered he is Jewish. He gave me a detailed tour of the cemetery and took me to see the old Shul. It was very moving to see the tears roll down his cheek as I was saying a Keil Molei in Reb Mendel's Ohel.

 

Wed, January 17 2018 1 Shevat 5778