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