Waking Dream

Bolechov Synagogue, courtesy of Bolechow Jewish Heritage Society

“If you are a dreamer, come in.”

– Invitation, by Shel Silverstein

Standing in front of the door, I mustered up the courage to knock. As I was about to do so, I heard a voice from within the building say, “If you are a dreamer, come in.” Instead of knocking, I tried the doorknob. The door was unlocked; I entered into a synagogue, furnished with pews, lamps, an ark for the Torah scroll, and a bimah in the center where the rabbi and cantor were leading a service. I could hardly believe my eyes. I had travelled to Bolekiev, Ukraine from the States, to visit the town where my ancestors had once lived. At that time, the town was Bolechov, Poland, before the end of WW2. Now, instead of finding the caretaker inside of a dilapidated building, as expected, I entered into a world that I had thought vanished a century ago.

Eldridge St. Synagogue, NYC, courtesy of Howie Schnee

Lives in Limbo

“I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility that existence has its own reason for being.” – Wislawa Szymborska

The darkened hearts of some of our neighbors, who have renounced their humanity will be judged by the Almighty, while I and my brother, hiding in between these walls, will continue to cling to the Ribono Shel Olam, Who has provided this place of refuge for us. We are fortunate enough to be blessed with kind Christian neighbors, who will not permit the darkness to cloud their own sense of judgment, morality and faith. Although this bleak reality (only an appearance of a life in limbo) may cast an occasional shadow of doubt upon our own faith, I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility that existence has its own reason for being. And, who knows whether these very walls may have been built for this purpose, to shelter us from the tyranny of the soul that seems to have pervaded the world’s conscience.