“You must promise me that you will tell this story, what happened here,” the rabbi said to the bar mitzvah boy, Joachim “Yoya” Joseph. They had just finished the ceremony in a small barrack in Bergen-Belsen, where they covered the windows so the Nazi guards would not see them. The rabbi, Simon Dasberg, a community rabbi from Holland, pressed a little Torah scroll in the young boy’s hands as he spoke to him.
It’s not easy to handle death. It’s so naked and finite. No matter how much we talk about the spiritual journey to the next world, about legacies that never die, about a life well lived, there’s really no consolation for the pain of missing someone — really, really missing someone.
I’m not sure, but I think I have a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or at least another way of looking at it. It hit me the other day after I broke bread at Pat’s Restaurant with some people connected to Americans for Peace Now, a leftist Jewish organization that actively promotes the two-state solution.