Elie Wiesel walked out of Buchenwald, one of the largest concentration camps in Germany, on April 11, 1945, the same day as the late father of journalist Howard Reich, the legendary former jazz critic for The Chicago Tribune. Reich never talked to his father or mother, both survivors, about their Holocaust experiences. But in 2001 Reich’s mother began to relive those experiences, and his quest to piece together the stories he never knew about led to his book and subsequent film, Prisoner of Her Past. Nearly a decade later, Reich sat down to interview Elie Wiesel and discovered an instant connection, which he wrote about in The Art of Inventing Hope. Reich joins us to discuss all this, plus how jazz helped him confront his family’s past.

Then, in honor of Yom HaShoah, we’re joined by Lilli Platt, AJC Senior Development Director and Director of Women's Leadership Board, who was born in a Displaced Persons (DP) camp and is the child of Holocaust survivors.

Listen to this episode on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts.

Episode Lineup: 

  • (00:40) Howard Reich
  • (23:01) Lilli Platt
  • (25:29) Manya Brachear Pashman
  • (29:05) Seffi Kogen

Show Notes:


Episode Transcript

Manya Brachear Pashman  (0:28)  
The late Elie Wiesel wrote more than 50 books, several on what he called "the experience," his time in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. He walked out of Buchenwald on April 11, 1945, the same day as the late father of journalist Howard Reich, the legendary former jazz critic for the Chicago Tribune. But Howard never talked to his father about surviving the Holocaust, and he never talked to his mother, also a survivor. In 2001, his mother began to relive in her mind the horrific events that haunted her. Howard's quest to piece together the stories he never knew, led to his book and subsequent film Prisoner of Her Past. Nearly a decade later, Howard sat down to interview Elie Wiesel and discovered an instant connection. Their friendship over the four years that followed helped Howard understand what happened to his parents and led to his latest book, The Art of Inventing Hope. Howard is with us now to discuss that book and that friendship. Howard, welcome to People of the Pod.

Howard Reich  (1:36)  
Thank you.

Manya Brachear Pashman  (1:37)  
You reveal in the book that you had not read Elie Wiesel's works until about three months before you interviewed him. Why did you avoid Holocaust literature until then, and have you discovered that same tendency among your peers?

Howard Reich  (1:49)  
So it is true, I did avoid this subject until about I was almost 50 years old. When you grow up with two parents who are Holocaust survivors, and all your aunts and uncles are survivors, and they're traumatized by this and it is never gone, for me, I found it to be an overwhelming experience. Although my parents did not speak with me very much about what happened to them, and that's typically the norm, but the survivors talk to themselves about this constantly. It was the background of our lives, it was always there. And I found it oppressive, dark, morbid, all the things it really is. And also when you're a little kid, when you're young kid, even when you're a teenager, what are you most fascinated by? Your own life, your own friends, what you're doing. And so yes, I avoided the subject, I found it impossible and still do, to watch movies about the Holocaust. I don't watch any movies about this or read any books about this, unless it's for a work related project. And then I go into work mode. So it was very difficult. And was my avoidance typical of my generation? At the risk of generalizing, I would say yes. And here's the proof. When, in 2003, the Chicago Tribune, the newspaper where I worked my entire career, ran a gigantic story about me finding out, trying to find out what happened to my mother, this was my first outing of myself as a second generation, as a son of survivors. When that story ran for the first time, I started hearing from friends who I grew up with in Skokie telling me that they, too, were children of survivors. They didn't know I was and I didn't know they were. We didn't talk about it. It took a personal experience in what happened to my mother in 2001 for me to finally be able to break through that wall.

Manya Brachear Pashman  (3:39)  
Howard, for those who aren't familiar with the book and the film about your mother, please share with our listeners what happened in the town of Skokie, a suburb of Chicago 20 years ago.

Howard Reich  (3:48)  
Well, on the night of February 15, 2001, my mother, who then was a 69-year-old Holocaust survivor, a widow living in the little house in Skokie where we grew up, living alone there. That night, she packed up two shopping bags of clothes and ran for her life, and she was running on the streets of Skokie, until she was picked up by the Skokie police, and then brought to a relative's house. And the next night she repeated that behavior. And I had no idea what this was about. I did not connect my mother running for, apparently for her life on the streets of Skokie had anything to do with the past that she never told me about. I knew she was a Holocaust survivor, but that's all that I knew. And not only did I not connect that event with her past, but neither did the psychiatrist who evaluated her. They diagnosed her with delusional disorder. I looked that up in the DSM book, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Delusional disorder means you're having delusions, period. It sheds no light on the situation. It wasn't until a year later when I found a doctor who had been treating Holocaust survivors for the past 40 years who diagnosed my mother with PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder. My mother was reenacting, reliving her childhood in flight. But I did not know what that story of her childhood in flight was. And that began a years long process of trying to put that together. And I found out as I say that my mother spent from 1942 to 1945 as a child in easternmost Poland, running for her life. I just had one other remarkable fact. My wife figured this out. The night that my mother ran out of her house, February 15, 2001, was the exact 10th anniversary of the death of my father. And I don't believe that's a coincidence, because the PTS literature says there's often an anniversary, a birthday, a news story, something that's a trigger that pushes a PTSD patient into the realm of psychosis. And that's where my mother was, and where she is to this day.

Manya Brachear Pashman  (5:58)  
You went on to learn what your mother was reliving. You traveled to Poland and Ukraine and met family you didn't even know you had right? 

Howard Reich  (6:06)  
So I tried my best to try to piece together the story that my mother did not and clearly could not tell me. I found, as you mentioned, relatives in Poland she never even mentioned we had. I got some material from there. And then I went to the scene of the crimes, Dubno, which at the time, before World War II and during was in Poland, after the war was recarved into Ukraine. My mother was born in 1931. And in 1939, when World War II began, the Russians have arrived. September 17, 1939, the Russians arrived in my mother's little town by tank, and Russian soldiers, Russian officers took over the family's house and push the family members into the back room. My mother was 8 years old at the time, this is what she learned can happen to you at eight. Two years later, on June 22, 1941. Bomb started dropping around Dubno, and three days later, the Nazis arrived. And on that day, they began the mass execution of Jews by machine gun at the Jewish cemetery. And these executions continued for many months to come. By April 2, 1942, a ghetto was formed in Dubno, as it was in many cities across Eastern Europe. And those Jews who were still living were in the ghetto, including my mother. And by October of 1942, virtually the entire Jewish population of Dubno, about 12,000 people, had been killed by machine gun. It is believed less than 100 people survived those executions or escaped them. My mother is one of them. I've been able to deduce that some time between the summer of '42 and October '42, my mother must have fled the ghetto. And she spent the next three years in flight, a child of 10 years old, 11 years old, 12 years running for her life. That is how she spent her adolescence. And somehow she managed to escape these killings, and she managed to subsist for those years. And toward the end of the war, through coincidence, she found a relative. They went back to Dubno at the end of the war, almost everybody was gone. And my mother tried to rebuild. And what my relatives told me was the one thing my mother wanted above all else was to come to America. She just wanted to come to America and as a 16-year-old under age, she was able to meet that quota. And she came here and started her life again and tried to put those memories away. And she did put them away for a long time. And I measure my mother's life not by this, what has happened now, but by the nearly 40 beautiful years she had in Skokie with her husband and her two kids and then grandchildren. And then this happened. But with PTSD, those memories eventually can come back. They can run roaring back. They wait patiently to a time in your life when you're not as busy raising kids, and doing laundry, and getting groceries. And with the death of my father, who was also a survivor, who is 10 years older than my mother, the the one person my mother learned to have trust in, and with his absence, she eventually succumbed to those nightmarish past memories that she had. And with the 10th anniversary of his death, she ran for her life.

Manya Brachear Pashman  (9:19)  
Were you also able to piece together what happened to your father?

Howard Reich  (9:22)  
Yes, I was able to to some degree. I went looking in my family's safe deposit box, because I knew nothing about what happened to my father after this whole investigation of my mother. And in the safety deposit box, I found a document that I did not know existed. It was a six page document that was an affidavit that my father completed and swore to in the 1960s to apply for restitution from the German government. And in that affidavit, you have to say what happened to you. And my father describes he grew up in westernmost Poland. The family had a big bakery there. 1939 also, the Germans arrive, take over the bakery, you're now wearing an armband with a Star of David around your arm. If you look at someone the wrong way, you are shot. And then he was sent off to a series of work camps and finally, to a death march, to Buchenwald in January of 1945, the same time that Elie Wiesel also was on a death march to Buchenwald from elsewhere. They both spend those last four months of the war subsisting in Buchenwald barely having food. And on April 11, 1945, they were liberated, as were the few remaining Jews who still were alive. And so I came to realize that my father's past, my father's story, and Elie Wiesel's story, neither of which I knew during most of my life, are connected and intertwined. And I think when I began to tell Elie Wiesel about my father's story, my mother's story, we instantly became linked in a way that I never expected, but that I'm so grateful for.

Manya Brachear Pashman  (10:58)  
Can you elaborate and tell us why?

Howard Reich  (11:00)  
Well, I learned so much from him. This was the opportunity that I never had before. Because I never asked my parents about what happened to them, much to my regret. And it was such a cathartic relief. For instance, I have felt very guilty that I never asked my parents about this. How could I not have asked them when the information was there? Why did I not ask them? And I expressed that to Professor Wiesel. He said, he doesn't want me to feel guilty. He doesn't want any of the survivors' children to feel guilty, doesn't want any of the survivors to feel guilty. He said, let the guilty feel guilty, let the ones who did this feel guilty. I was also struck by Wiesel who went through what my father, my mother, what all the survivors went through, who went through the darkest chapter, really it seems to me, of 20th century history, and they lived. We read about it, they lived it. And they didn't know if they would live through it. He went through all that and yet, I would say he was about the most hopeful person I have ever met. I would say I can understand why people who have been through such experience or other traumas are despairing, why they despair. And he said, No, he doesn't want anyone to despair. He said despair is not the answer. It's the question. And if it is the answer, it's the wrong answer. "My job," this is him speaking, he said "my job as a writer, as a teacher, is to share with people the art of listening and the art of inventing hope even when there is no hope." And that's why I titled this book, The Art of Inventing Hope, because Professor Wiesel and all the survivors clearly invented hope, after everything had been taken away from them, and somehow managed to rebuild lives, learn languages, learn new jobs, move to other countries, have children, have grandchildren. To me, I still can't even understand how they did it. They invented hope in spite of everything that happened. 

Manya Brachear Pashman  (12:49)  
How did this friendship begin?

Howard Reich  (12:51)  
The Chicago Tribune, where as I mentioned I've worked my entire career, gives out a literary prize each year. In 2012, I get a call from my editor, who said to me this year the Tribune literary prize is going to Elie Wiesel. Well, as soon as he said that I knew the significance of that, or at least part of the significance of that, that meant that the Tribune was going to ask me to interview Professor Wiesel, write a big story about him, and then interview him on the stage of Orchestra Hall where the Chicago Symphony Orchestra plays each week in front of 2500 people. And my editor said, "Are you interested?" I said, "Yeah, I think I could work that into my schedule." So this was an awesome experience. I went to New York, I'm meeting the great Elie Wiesel, who I never even thought I would meet. And he takes me into his office. And as you're walking down the corridor in his suite of offices in New York, it's stacked from floor to ceiling with books, it's all books. It's like being in the Library of Congress. And then you come into his corner office and we sat. I was on one couch, he was on another couch perpendicular, kind of bumping knees against each other. I now realize in retrospect, I believe we became friends about four minutes into our conversation, because by then he knew about my mother's story, knew about my father's story, he asked me to send him the book about my mother. And he said to me, even the first four minutes, he said to me, I want to show you something. And he got up and he walked across the room to his desk, and he opened a little drawer, took out a little tablet of paper, about two by four inches, yellowed paper, comes over me and he said this, "I never showed this to anyone on the outside, certainly never any journalists." And he said this just recently resurfaced. It's a little tablet of paper on which he had written his thoughts on mysticism in Hebraic prayer when he was 13 years old at the time of his Bar Mitzvah. And this little tablet of paper just surfaced. It had survived, whereas most of his family and most of mine did not. And when he showed me that, I realize we are now on a new footing. This is not journalist and subject anymore. This is survivor, the world's most revered survivor, and a son of survivors, talking about the subject that's dominated both of our lives, even though I didn't always know it. 

Manya Brachear Pashman  (15:02)  
And this was all in preparation for your live interview in Chicago a month later, right?

Howard Reich  (15:07)  
We had a beautiful interview, you could hear a pin drop in Orchestra Hall. People were hanging on every word that this great man, at that point 84 years old, had to share with us. And then, after the event, after the talk, the limo driver asked me if I would like to go back with Professor Wiesel to the airport, in which I thought, great, I'll get another 45 minutes with him. So my wife and I are in the limo with him, we're talking 100 miles an hour, we get to the airport and I thought, this has been the most amazing four weeks in my life. I went to New York, I interviewed Elie Wiesel, I wrote about him, I was on stage of Orchestra Hall with him, I take him to the airport, how lucky can somebody get? And then Pam, my wife, and I are saying goodbye to him. And Pam hugs him, I hug him, and he says this to me. He says to me, "you've got my number, right?" 

Manya Brachear Pashman  (15:54)  
And so you told me before you picked up the phone a week later, proposed a book and he invited you to come see him, which you did over the next four years in Florida and New York. Most importantly, you discussed with him how we should speak about the Holocaust today. What did he share?

Howard Reich  (16:12)  
He was one of the very first writers, intellectuals to use the word Holocaust. You never can say who's first but he was one of the first. And I asked him why this word. He said because it means fire and it means victim, and those are the words you could get closest to, but he quickly added that he is appalled at how easily people say this word and how they apply this word to a sports debacle, or something on news, so many things are Holocaust. He said some words are copyrighted by events themselves. Call something else a tragedy, a loss, a catastrophe, don't use that word. That word has a very specific meaning to him.

Manya Brachear Pashman  (16:49)  
You spent 43 years at the Chicago Tribune writing about music, specifically jazz, a quintessential sound of Chicago. How did your Jewish sensibility inform your career as a jazz critic?

Howard Reich  (17:01)  
Well, I believe that music is central to the Jewish experience. What do we think of? Fiddler on the Roof, klezmer music, Itzhak Perlman. I mean, music is so central to Judaism. Professor Wiesel himself aspired early on to be a musician. He took violin lessons long before the war. And after the war, when he was in France at age 15 and 16, he formed a choir. And he led a choir. In fact, he said so many beautiful young women wanted to join his choir that he suddenly had too many men in his choir. They wanted to join, too. So music was central. But to me, music played a very specific role. My family's house was filled with tension, trauma, and angst. And music was my way out of that. And one night I went downstairs to turn the TV on and this movie came on, An American in Paris. I was 16 years old. And it's music by George Gershwin, choreography by Gene Kelly, piano playing by Oscar Levant. And boom, the window opened up, music is it for me. And that's when I started piano lessons. And I became a piano major and studied music and all that. When I was playing the piano in my house, you couldn't hear all the yelling around me. Let me distill it that way. Music was literally my way out and it is for other people as well. So this was another bond I had with Professor Wiesel. We spent as much time talking about music as we did about the Holocaust.

Manya Brachear Pashman  (18:24)  
I have read there was a Jewish Jazz ensemble at Buchenwald, the concentration camp from which Professor Wiesel and your father were liberated. What role did jazz play for Jews during the Holocaust and beyond?

Howard Reich  (18:36)  
There was a jazz band in Theresienstadt, Terezin, which was this you know, propaganda showplace that Nazis put forward but allowed culture to exist. And there was classical music too, and there was theater. I feel there's a reason and a profound link between Jews and jazz. It's not coincidental that some of the greatest jazz stars of the biggest popular era of jazz, swing era were Jews. Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and what instrument did they play? The clarinet, a quintessential Jewish klezmer instrument. Why the clarinet for Jews? It's portable, it travels, Jews are always wandering, roaming, running. The clarinet can come with you. If we think of American jazz, who do we think of as the first great figure, the first great star of jazz? Louis Armstrong. Louis Armstrong wore a Star of David around his neck through his entire life, because he credited being saved from abject poverty and crime in New Orleans at the turn of the previous century by a Jewish family, the Karnofskys. They took him in and he wrote, he watched how the Karnofskys themselves were persecuted for being Jews even in America. And yet they took him in, they gave him money for his first musical instrument. So the link between Jews and jazz is profound and deep. So why? Well, it seems obvious. The black, African Americans who invented jazz, invented that music, it seems to me, not because of extreme bigotry, but in spite of it. And Jews have suffered that same bigotry for millennia. So of course, Jews would find a home in jazz, whether in the most dire place, the concentration camps, or the most beautiful place, the bandstands of America in the 1930s. I think these two elements are inseparable. I'm writing really not just about jazz, but about black musical culture, African American culture. So why is someone who's the son of two survivors gravitating toward the culture of another persecuted group? It's a kind of displacement. It was way of me dealing unconsciously, I think, within my own family's past, was until I finally could confront it face first.

Manya Brachear Pashman  (20:46)  
Your next film is based on a three part series that ran in the Chicago Tribune about Norman Malone, a high school choral director in Chicago Public Schools, who as a little boy was attacked with a hammer and became paralyzed on the right side. The film is about how Norman played the piano for most of his adult life, unbeknownst to his students and colleagues. When your story ran in 2015, 78-year-old Norman was showered with invitations to play concerts.

Howard Reich  (21:10)  
And we filled in touring the country, playing concerto, making his orchestral debut. And that film is called For the Left Hand and it will be released later this year.

Manya Brachear Pashman  (21:22)  
Your mom just turned 90. She's living in a nursing home near you. Did you get to celebrate?

Howard Reich  (21:28)  
I normally visited my mother every other day, all through this time since she was there. But during the pandemic, I have not seen my mother in the past year. And it's even worse than that, because my mother is so paranoid, for understandable reasons, that she will not even come to the phone. In this whole year, I've had one one-minute FaceTime conversation with her when a nurse's aide brought the phone to her. So I'm about to, in fact, visit her again on Thursday, which is Holocaust Remembrance Day. So happens they've opened up, I'm vaccinated, she's vaccinated. They're letting me see her for the first time in a year. So I can't believe it's been this long, but I'm so looking forward to it. But she recently turned 90. And from what I understand, she's still giving everyone hell so she must be pretty good.

Manya Brachear Pashman  (22:12)  
That's wonderful news, Howard. Mazel tov. I'm so glad that you get to see her this week. Oh, wow. Well, thank you so much for joining us for this conversation. And it was just a pleasure to have you and to see you again.

Howard Reich  (22:25)  
It was great to be reunited. And I thank you for doing this and helping the world hear these stories.

Seffi Kogen  (22:45)  
Now it's time for our closing segment, Shabbat Table Talk. And joining us at our Shabbat table this week is Lilli Platt, Senior Development Director at AJC and director of our Women's Leadership Board. Lilli, when you're talking with your family at your Shabbat table this weekend, what are you going to be talking about?

Lilli Platt  (23:01)  
Hi, Seffi and Manya. Thank you for having me on your podcast today in honor of Yom HaShoah. It's a very difficult day for so many, remembering the 6 million murdered. For me, like so many others, it's very personal. Growing up as the child of Holocaust survivors, remembering the Holocaust wasn't limited to one day. It was every day. Picture if you can my mother at 21 years old, the youngest of eight children of a religious Jewish family in a small shtetl in Poland. She had a nearly idyllic childhood. It ended when she was about 12, when the whole family was sent to the Łódź ghetto. As bad as conditions were for them there, at least they were together. But then they were sent to concentration camps, where she saw her mother sent to the line with the old women and children, meaning immediate death. 

At the end of the war, she had managed to survive the concentration camps, including the dreaded Auschwitz where she was beaten by Josef Mengele. After trying to find any living relatives, she met my father, also a survivor. They married and live in a DP camp, a displaced persons camp, for they were displaced out of their homes. That's where I was born, and they soon started the process to leave Germany, wanting to go to Israel, but America had a shorter timeframe. 

So, landing at Ellis Island, after a harrowing 12-day voyage, icy, in December, she arrives in a new country, with a husband and a child, attempting to start a new life. And she's 21 years old. But she did. The life here was good, and for the rest of her life, she was grateful for the opportunity to live freely as a Jew. That's what I keep thinking about. And what I will talk about with my family at my Shabbat table. How do you start a new life at 21 with those terrible memories of torture and murder, and the brutal loss of your whole family just because they were Jewish. My mother would be horrified to learn of the increasing antisemitism today in her beloved adopted country. I'm very grateful to AJC, as it ensures and works towards fighting antisemitism here and around the globe. Manya, what will you be discussing at your Shabbat table?

Manya Brachear Pashman  (25:28)  
Well, thank you so much Lilli, that was beyond moving and I feel like our audience should sit with that a bit before I change the tone completely. 

At our Shabbat table, we will bow our heads in memory of the 6 million who perished. We'll also be practicing our Yiddish. If mastery of Hebrew and Yiddish were required to host a Jewish podcast, I would not be in this chair. As Seffi and our producers well know, I butcher Hebrew and I slay Yiddish. One of our producers is nodding at this very moment, in fact. My husband hates it when I kvetch or kvell. Why? Because of what you just heard. I habitually separate the K and the V. He makes me say it again. And again. Kvetch, kvell, kvetch, kvell. Ugh. 

So the news this week that Duolingo is adding Yiddish to its language offering was klezmer to my ears. Finally, I can learn to pronounce these words properly. Finally, there's an app for that. But the addition of Yiddish is more than just learning how to say schlepp and schmooze. It's about preserving yet another component of Jewish culture that was almost silenced. Experts say there are fewer than a million Yiddush speakers in the world today, down from around 11 million before World War II. Over the past decade, Duolingo has steadily added new languages to its courses, including some other fading dialects. Its Irish course launched in 2014. Now I must admit, I didn't even know there was a separate Irish language until AJC invited the Irish Consul General to recite the Mah Nishtana from Passover last month. We'll link to that in our show notes. 

You might remember we had Zalman Mlotek, the artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene on this podcast in 2019. He and the star of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish joined us for a conversation about the Off-Broadway hit, and I do mean hit. Right before the pandemic, it was set to launch an international tour with a cast already selected in Australia. So, when the app was unveiled, I reached out to Zalman again to ask him about its significance. The theater was founded not to preserve the language, he said, but to establish a place where the couple million Jews who came to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries could be entertained and informed in their lingua franca, and it became a staple. The Yiddish theatre was where many saw Shakespeare and Tolstoy, translated into Yiddish. 

Well, now it does more than Yiddish. The theater spent the pandemic getting ready for the world premieres of an English language opera about the Holocaust, and Barry Manilow's labor of love Harmony, about a vaudeville singing group in 1920s Germany. The theater offers lessons online and teaches its actors to speak Yiddish. But that's not the goal, Zalman said, it's a byproduct. He described the revived interest in Yiddish as an arc that started with Jewish immigrants doing everything they could to stop speaking Yiddish to make sure their children spoke the language of the land here. As second, third, and fourth generations now seek a connection to their roots, the desire to preserve traditions, such as the language, have gone far beyond nostalgia and a full-blown revival. Mlotek will probably enroll in those Yiddish classes, though he's already fluent. He recently enrolled in Duolingo's Hebrew classes because he's about to gain a son-in-law in Israel. 

I asked him about the difficulty I had with pronunciation. He tried to coach me through that K-V combination and others. At first, it seemed to be working or as he said, arbetn. Arbetn, I repeated and then I told him I felt like I was swallowing my tongue. Perfect, he kvelled. Yeah, yeah, I heard all those oy vey's out there. I still have work to do. And that's what we'll be talking about at our Shabbat table. Seffi, how about you?

Seffi Kogen  (29:04)  
Well, Manya I'm schlepping nachas for your linguistic growth. But I have to say personally, I'm still waiting for Duolingo to add Ladino classes so I can honor my Turkish-Jewish heritage. You're thinking about words this week, and I'm thinking about numbers. 

The second night of Pesach begins the counting of the sheaves, or Sefirat HaOmer, which commemorates the 50-day process that dates back to the Bible, of presenting the first fruits of the grain harvest each year in Jerusalem. What this commandment looks like today is that traditionally religious Jews around the world say a blessing and count upwards from one to 49 each night between the second night of Pesach and the start of the festival of Shavuot. It wasn't designed this way. But those seven weeks are among the most momentous in the modern Jewish calendar. 

During the period of the counting of the Omer, we mark this week's Yom HaShoah, Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, which commemorates the date of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Next week, we will mark Yom HaZikaron, Israel's Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terror, and then transition at nightfall into celebrating Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day. And finally, toward the end of the Omer, we'll observe Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, the anniversary of when, during the Six Day War in 1967, Israeli troops liberated the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordan, reuniting the capital of the Jewish people. A3s always, the springtime is a momentous season to be Jewish, filled with memory and mourning, yes, and also triumph and rebirth. I'll be reflecting on all of that and getting excited about the future and my Shabbat table this week. Shabbat shalom.

Manya Brachear Pashman  (31:03)  
Shabbat shalom.

Lilli Platt  (31:04)  
Shabbat shalom.