Four rabbis representing The Board of Rabbis of Southern California visited the Polish Consulate in Los Angeles last week to offer letters and wishes of condolence after the April 10 plane crash that killed the Polish president and 94 others, including many governmental leaders.
What started as a brief, official condolence call turned into a half-hour session of pastoral counseling, according to Rabbi Denise Eger, president of The Board of Rabbis. Also attending were Rabbi Mark Diamond, executive director of The Board of Rabbis; Rabbi Lisa Edwards of Beth Chayim Chadashim; and Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, a founder of the social-action organization Jews on First.
The consul general, Joanna Kozinska-Frybes, formerly an ambassador in Mexico, told the rabbis she knew half the people on the plane.
“The sense of grief was palpable, even personal,” Beliak wrote in an e-mail following the visit. Beliak had just returned from two months of serving as a rabbi at Beit Warszawa, a liberal congregation in Warsaw, and he arranged the visit.
The rabbis and Kozinska-Frybes, along with Vice Consul Malgorzata Cup, discussed the paths of reconciliation now opening between Jews and Poles, as Poland tries to heal the wounds of the Holocaust.
Rabbi Burt Schuman, rabbi of Beit Warszawa, and the consul general will be participating in a dialogue about Polish-Jewish relations at the end of May at the Rabbi Harold Schulweis Institute at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino.