Thursday, May 24, 2012

A German in Israel

As I explained in my last post (Click here), every student in my diversity class is doing a cultural presentation. I love it, I get to see other people's culture. For instance, one of the girls who presented yesterday is from the Virgin Islands. The dream. We were sitting there watching and listening, yet all our minds were in the Islands. 

The other classmate who presented is my reason for this post. Originally from Germany, C is now married to an American and lives in the US. I don't need to say much about her to get my point across but I've had a few classes with her before and we've always had a great relationship. 

Being Jewish from German descent, there is of course the big gap of the holocaust that whenever you meet someone from that country, you wonder how do they feel about themselves today. You wonder if they would do it, si c'était à  refaire (if it were to happen again). You wonder if they hate you, if you should hate them, you wonder all kinds of things. But the truth is, you know that the past does not make the individual your enemy nor your worst nightmare. So I will admit I was curious to discuss with C the whole topic 80 and some years later. 

She shared it with the class and my esteem has only increased since. Here is what she shared:
In her early twenties, C decided to take it upon herself to "correct" what her country had done. Therefore, she went to Israel and decided to volunteer in Kibbutzim. It was her way of giving back, it was her way of making amends. She explained that growing up, there was a big silence about the whole era of the Nazi Germany, not a silence of denial but a silence of shame. However, the new generation is not necessarily one who bears such memories, grudges, shame or whatever it may be. So she decided to do the one thing she could do and volunteered herself to the people her nation once set out to exterminate. 

I think that's pretty incredible and unusual for someone nowadays to care about the past, and beyond caring, acts upon it in a righteous way. Our generation is much more worried about having a good time, not feeling sad, and not having too many responsibility.

C also said that she was asked to leave after two weeks because the Kibbutz had some holocaust survivor resident and they didn't wan't her there. So she moved on to a different Kibbutz. That's also character strength. I don't care if you're Christian, Jewish or what, we need more people like that. 


  1. I agree - that's truly incredible and she is very special for doing that, especially after having been kicked out of the first one. I go to a college where there aren't many jews and ive gotten to know girls from all types of religions and backgrounds - and have only been pleasantly surprized. Whether they are Muslims, Christians, or of German descent, they are all so accepting, respectful and genuinely interested in orthodox Judaism. I'm moving to a city with way more jews next year, and I must find out about these diversity classes - they sound fascinating!! I'd it part of the college you're in or is it an extra-curricular?

    1. I think the problem of diversity is the trend today and therefore most people of our generation make it a point to be tolerant and accepting etc...

      This class is part of my five year PsyD in psychology, a must in order to become a therapist :)
      Is it a "secret" where you'll be moving to?

    2. Haha it's not a secret per se - I wouldn't mind telling some bloggers but I wouldn't want to post it on a blog :p- when I finish my finals I'll email you :-)

      About the first sentence that you wrote I don't get what you mean. You write "I think the problem of diversity is the trend today and therefore most people make it a point to be accepting". Are you saying that it's a problem?
      Something i noticed and the only problem I see is that often (in my college campus anyways) jews can be SO accepting and open minded that they sometimes forget what is important to them and they slip on Halacha in order to impress other cultures... I would give examples but don't want to offend anyone so I'll skip. One of my rabbis in seminary used to tell us "it's good to be open minded, but not so open minded that your brain falls out" ;-) I like that phrase and although he was much more Chareidi than me, and our thresholds for 'brain falling out' are different, I think it's a nice way to see the world...

    3. P.s. kol hakavod for doing a 5 year PsyD in psychology! I really admire that! Iyh by me :)

    4. ill be waiting for your email :)
      About what I wrote, I do not think it's a problem at all. It just happens to be the way our generation is, that we are all (or a lot of us at least) into tolerance and acceptance. It comes with a risk like you said, of slipping on whats really important at times but in itself it's definitely not a bad thing

    5. Yes, I agree!

      By the way, when I was first entertaining the idea of starting a blog, I spoke to one of my really good friends who I knew also had a blog (I think you know her as Mrs. Frummy now!) and she told me that nothing is ever a secret - its only a matter of time before someone finds out who you are. Using that advice I decided to only write things on my blog that I would be comfortable writing to my close friends and family - and in retrospect I think that was a very wise decision - I don't think that it's healthy to be writing on a blog things that are so personal that you wouldn't even tell your close friends / family / boyfriend about.

      Hence why i don't mind telling you where I'm moving to :) if some ppl find out, so be it!

      Shabbat shalom and Chag Sameach!

    6. I wasn't aware you have blog. What is it??

    7. Sorry I thought you knew! LL = LifeLover!!!

    8. (I've just been commenting like this coz I don't want to sign into my blogger account - its much less distracting this way!) I'll revert back soon...

  2. I've articles about how the following German generations want to "compensate" for their cultural past. Even though we do not believe in hereditary sin, it is nice that they are aware of it and are acting upon it.

    Something we should learn from them.