Yad Vashem – Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names

I was alerted to this new section of the Yad Vashem website by a friend outside of our local grocery yesterday. So far I have found many names consistent with our family names, but, absent the proper context I have no way of knowing whether any were ancestors. Our family came to the US prior to WWII, and I have no record of relatives of theirs left behind. Some undoubtedly are, but the most important factor is that we remember all of the victims of the Shoah, as the site proclaims:

“Yad Vashem undertook to retrieve the names of the Jewish victims and to preserve their memory.This is the moral duty of the Jewish People; our last respects to the victims.”

Update: The most incredibly frustrating thing about all of this is that I have learned from my father that my grandmother, whose maiden name was Chariton, had three sisters who stayed in Rumania, but we don’t know their names. There are a number of women on the Yad Vashem site with the name “Chariton” that came from Rumania. So I will light a yahrzeit candle for all of them this Yom Hashoa.

“…Who Will Be For Me?”

This bit of Holocaust revisionist drivel from Melbourne Indymedia has prompted me to reprint the following letter to the editor of our local paper which I wrote last Yom Hashoah:

“Editor: Several years ago I came across a name on the Yad Vashem website – one Tzvi Feuerstain. Tzvi was a Czechoslovakian Jew, thirteen years old when he died in Auschwitz in 1944. His family had submitted a page of testimony to Yad Vashem, and I received a copy of it, which is in my office. I like to tell people about Tzvi because I feel that someone should remind people that Tzvi Feuerstein was a living, breathing human being whose life was prematurely ended by the insanity of Hitler’s Germany and the unchecked anti-Semitism of an entire nation, aided by a large part of the rest of the world. Tzvi Feuerstein would be about 73 now, had he been allowed to live. Tzvi was ten years younger than my father, who is still in good health today.

I mention this to underscore the fact that the Holocaust was not so very long ago, so we must remember. Never again, never forget. Why Tzvi Feuerstein? I guess because “Feuerstein” was the original version of our name. Were we related? It’s possible, but we will probably never know for sure. But a better answer to the question of “Why Tzvi Feuerstein?” is “Why not Tzvi Feuerstein?” I like to urge others to do the same. For me, it has been personally rewarding to be able to make others aware of Tzvi, even though I don’t know much besides what I have relayed here. And as a Jew I feel I have a duty to carry the torch for one of ours who cannot.
In memory of Tzvi Feuerstein, alevasholem.”

I often refer to the memory of Tzvi Feuerstain in the spirit of Rabbi Hillel’s admonition:

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
But if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?”


Thank you all, including those who personally emailed as well. I’ve been trying to get back to everyone personally, but it’s been a bit difficult over the last couple of days. I’ll keep working on it though.

I’ll have you know that I went to the doc yesterday and received some meds which will hopefully alleviate the severity I feel about my situation. Overwhelm is one thing, but crying every day is another. Honestly, I feel better just bringing that out into the open. I’ve pushed aside some feelings for a while and, well, that’s not a good thing. When Joe returns home at the end of the month for good, things should get better as the distribution of responsibilities will even out more.

Something I did not mention before, and the main reason I went to the doc yesterday, was that I believed my toe was broken. On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, Ari came charging at me and hit my big toe straight on and hard! It hurt quite a bit, but never seemed to get better and consistently kept getting more swollen and blue (yuck, I know). The doctor had to drill two holes in my nail to release the pressure and drain fluid for about 15 minutes. He said that I likely had a fracture which was contributing to the pain, but that the pain should be much better after the fluid was released. He was right. At least it’s not throbbing anymore. But, I do get the sharp pains every once in a while. I’m assuming that’s the bone on the mend. I am instructed to keep it away from trauma (hello…big dogs and a toddler) and tight shoes until it feels normal again. But if you want to talk dedication over the high holy days, I squeezed that broken & hemorrhaged toe into a pair of heels to go to services and Tashlich that first evening. Tashlich was about a mile/mile and a half total. Of course, I had no idea how serious it was at that time, but it hurt like hell.

For those of you who doubt that anything is wrong with Ari, other than a speech delay, I hope you’re right. Our thought right now is that even though he may not have clinical autism, he does show several signs, so it doesn’t hurt to put some techniques into play for specific issues…like communication.

Ari sees me tired (nothing new there), but he doesn’t see me terribly worried with regard to him. All he sees right now is me coming closer to the ground and holding things next to my mouth so he can see how I say them. It’s a start. He thinks that funny, actually, as if to say, “Silly Mommy. I’ll talk when I’m ready, not when you’re ready.” He goes to the doc today for his two year checkup and we’ll move forward from that. A good friend of ours is a child psychiatrist who gave us some really great resources, while adding that she did not believe Ari was classically autistic, but that he did have a speech delay which was worth assessing.. Other good friends of ours have a child who is autistic and knows the best places in town to get the help we need, should that be his diagnosis. We have a tremendous support system in place.

We are so unbelievably grateful to every one of you for your friendship, understanding, empathy and infinite wisdom brought forward with regard to your own lives. Thank you so much!

headline thoughts

Gay Dad case goes before high court
Yeah, the court is definitely high.

Deer Crashes Through Iowa Party HQ Window
This would have been much funnier had it been an ass.

LA prosecutor: Courtney Love tested positive for cocaine
Coming under the category of, NO SHIT!

Author Encourages People To Eat Like Jesus
Um…you do mean kosher…don’t you? He was a rabbi, after all.

Jew By Choice

Yes I am. I’ve got the whole guilt thing down to a science!

This is undoubtedly the least observant I’ve ever been for Passover.

First, we stopped keeping kosher this past summer. That alone makes the house less “clean.” But, there have been no cleaning out the hametz from the cabinets and refrigerator. There have been no Seders. There have been no visits to the synagogue. There’s not even one piece of matzo in this house…old or new.

So, out of guilt, I will be heading to the grocery store today to purchase a box of matzos, which will be fried tomorrow and served with maple syrup. (It’s good…don’t mock until you’ve tried) I will also be picking up some gefilte fish and horseradish. Yes, if there were ever a true sign that I am one of the chosen people, it’s that I LOVE gefilte fish.

Chag Sameach to all my Jewish friends this Passover.