These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Only in Israel, Sukkot 5774 edition

Posted on September 23, 2013 by Jeff Amshalem

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SS Exodus 1947 after being boarded by the British on its way to Eretz Israel

This Shabbat we were at lunch in the sukkah of a friend, Shmulik, whose life story reads like Israel’s. Both his parents were survivors of Auschwitz. After two years in a DP camp they tried to come to Eretz Israel on the famous SS Exodus 1947. They were stopped by the British and sent back to a DP camp in Germany. Finally they arrived in Israel, on the eve of independence, as David Ben Gurion was reading the Declaration of Independence. (You can guess he has some amazing stories.) While in the camps, the survivors had celebrated the chagim by composing their own music. Shmulik’s parents had brought these songs with them and taught them to their children, and Shmulik has taught them to his children as a kind of family tradition. So as he was singing us this song, Pores sukkat shalom aleinu, another guest, Akiva, started to sing along with him. Shmulik’s jaw dropped. It turns out Akiva’s parents had also been in that camp, and had sung this newly composed Sukkot song with their fellow survivors, and had taught it to him as their own family tradition as well. You can imagine the goosebumps. This is the kind of story I file under ”only in Israel.” Moadim lesimcha, Jeff