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Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

the-blue-card-logoBlue Card on My Mind

An article in Saturday’s New York Times titled “Holocaust Survivors’ Needs Become Acute With Age” (that’s the title in my print newspaper; online, the headline reads, “As Holocaust Becomes More Distant, Survivors’ Needs Intensify”) seemed acutely well-timed to me, for a couple of reasons.

First, we’re approaching Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, which (according to the Hebrew calendar), will be observed next week. And second, I’ve recently sent in my Q1 donation, based on sales of Quiet Americans, to The Blue Card. I’ve spoken before about why I remain committed to sharing portions of sale proceeds with The Blue Card, but this is an appropriate time of year to give the organization another shoutout for the essential work that it does.

Also in My Thoughts

There’s another holiday approaching on the modern Hebrew calendar that’s also in my thoughts: Yom HaAtzmaut, which is Israel’s Independence Day, will take place one week after Yom HaShoah (and one day after Israel’s Memorial Day, which is known as Yom HaZikaron).

Earlier this year I wrote a poem that, while potentially “evergreen,” would be especially timely for Yom HaAtzmaut. But I’m not finding much success placing it. You can bet that I’ll be continuing that effort over the coming days.

And a Parting Tribute

This week brought news of the passing of Rabbi Ben-Zion Gold (1923-2016), who was director of Harvard Hillel and Jewish chaplain at Harvard University for more than 30 years. I didn’t know him well, but over my years living in Cambridge I encountered him many times at the Hillel building, on campus, and in the surrounding neighborhood. I can still see his warm, kind smile in greeting.

In tribute to the Rabbi, I am currently reading his memoir The Life of Jews in Poland Before the Holocaust. Published by the University of Nebraska Press, the book remains in print in paperback; I’m reading it via my Kindle. I recommend it highly. Here’s an introductory excerpt.

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3 Responses »

  1. Hi, Erika,

    Just wondering, are you fluent in Hebrew? I took one semester of Hebrew 23 years ago. As I recall, I was translating reasonably well for a first-semester student. Sadly, all I remember are the first few letters of the alphabet.


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