It is unfortunate that the March of Remembrance events were cancelled because of the current times. Fortunately, the Holocaust Remembrance Association was quick to adapt and produced what was a joy to watch, Hope in the Face of Total Loss. Listening to Alex Pollak’s success despite the horrible losses that World War II brought was a sobering reminder that the difficulty of the past should not handicap our future potential. And a particular highlight was Rabbi Don Gordon’s wisdom filled story of elbowless people in heaven and hell. The parable’s instruction tells of the reality of the brokenness of all human beings, yet that brokenness becomes a heaven when humans begin to aid each other.
Alex Pollak’s interview had the greatest impact on me. During WWII Mr. Pollak lost everything at a young age. Yet God’s Grace was upon him and despite losing his parents, almost losing his life, and becoming financially stricken Mr. Pollak was able encounter success through his hard work, hope, and as he mentions a belief that this tremendous loss cannot continue (27:23). The present times have stripped many of us from our financial security and replaced it with the fear of uncertainty. These times have also taken loved ones from us and have left us in much grief. Mr. Pollak’s success story is a timely encouragement for all of us during these trialing times. Our losses should not echo negatively through out our future. Rather, just like the Jewish people, our loses should be what hurls us vigorously towards our heaven willed potential.
Rabbi Dan Gordon’s humorous and insightful anecdote has reminded me that my hands should always be opened to help those in need. During WWII it was the Jews who needed help. There were numerous people who rose to the occasion to help, like the Christian family that took care of Mr. Pollak when he was left orphaned. Similarly, friends, loved ones, and strangers find themselves in need during these dreadful times. Additionally, it might even be challenging to offer a hand, due to the circumstances. Nonetheless, as Rabbi Dan Gordon’s lesson taught “All our fears can be satisfied when we learn to feed each other” (21:45). I can honestly affirm that my actions in the future will involve “feeding others”. If this means providing financial help to those who need, then let it be done through my life. If it means giving comfort to those who are grieving over a loss, then let it be done through my life. If it means ensuring the remembrance of an inflicted group – namely, the Jews – then let it be done through my life. In this way we may all experience heaven by giving each other a helping hand.
Honestly, I was not terribly excited to watch Hope in the Face of Total Loss. I also do not consider myself necessarily called to raise awareness of the Holocaust. However, watching this broadcast was an unexpected blessing. Perhaps, this broadcast is just what I needed to draw near to the pain the Holocaust brought the Jewish people and the world. Alex Pollak’s and Rabbi Dan Gordon’s contributions in this broadcast will certainly become ingrained into the fiber of my life and the actions the spring from it.