…and this one is just wrong

Mary Poppins as a horror film
 
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This cracked me up

The Ten Commandments done as a High School Comedy:
 
 

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Israel trip – December 2005

Just putting up a new gallery of my pics from my recent trip to Israel. Nice time with the family, and speaking at the Israel VB Users Group. Also a bunch of pics of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the road from J’lem to Tel Aviv, people at a bus stop, the usual. Actually put in captions in this set

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My mother’s speech at the Tolerance event

As part of the events during the trip, we had a tolerance event at a church that had been built on the ruins of a synagogue. This was my mother’s speech.
 
I, Miriam Meisels Griver, returned to Passau (Pocking) today as a survivor of the Holocaust. My late father, Rabbi Lipot Yehuda Meisels, a Hungarian Jew marched here from Auschwitz. Piled among the dead, he managed to move just enough to catch the attention of an American soldier. "That one is alive", the soldier shouted. My father was pulled from among the decaying bodies. My mother and sister and I reunited with him here, where he built a community of broken men, women and children. He buried the men, women and babies victims of the Holocaust, and then he helped to heal the lives of the survivors and nurse back their lives in many ways so they could embark on a new beginning.
 
My parents had seen more evil than can be imagined, but they brought our family up with love, and became a part of the growing Jewish state where more Holocaust survivors live than anyplace else.
 
I became a member of a woman’s organization called Hadassah. The name Hadassah comes from the Bible: it is the Hebrew for Queen Esther who saved the Jewish people from slaughter in ancient Persia. The organization was established in 1912 when an American woman named Henrietta Szold saw the suffering of the children of Jerusalem, Jewish children and Arab children. They were so used to flies in their eyes that they didn’t even bother to brush them away. She went back and used the strength of women who cared to build the infrastructure of medical care: baby clinics, child nutrition and also the needs of adults. The two great hospitals that bear the name Hadassah in Jerusalem continue to do that work: caring for the ill without reference to race, color, gender or religion. Hadassah’s hospitals are noted around the world for their excellence and far-reaching innovations.
 
When I moved to Israel, I saw the work of Hadassah first hand, and became an active member of Hadassah’s Israel chapter. Today, I am the President of Hadassah-Israel, an organization that aims to improve health for all the people of the region.
 
Hadassah-Israel is a national, non-partisan, women’s Zionist volunteer organization dedicated to the enhancement of the quality of life in Israel in the areas of Health Promotion, Education, Absorption, the Status of Women, and the Child at Risk. Hadassah-Israel continues in the footsteps of Henrietta Szold, the founder of the world Hadassah, and has chapters throughout the country. We are guided by the words of Henrietta Szold: “Dream great dreams and take the practical steps to make them a reality.”
Last year, our special project was to help the tiniest patients, the
neo-natal babies, both Jews and Palestinians, who need intensive care.
 
Hadassah has become a symbol of hope to people around the world. This year, legislators and professors in four different countries nominated Hadassah Medical Organization for a Nobel Peace Prize. I am proud of our ability to foster the values of equality, kindness, intelligence and dedication which are hallmarks of Hadassah’s existence.
 
I was one of the lucky children who grew up to establish a loving marriage, a wonderful family with children and grandchildren. But nurturing our own family is not enough. Each of us must give of ourselves by volunteering and contributing to the welfare of our communities.
As a Holocaust survivor I constantly reflect, agonize and struggle with the mind-boggling thoughts of how could the Holocaust to have happened. How did a people, so advanced in intelligence and culture pounce on its own citizens and on other communities all over Europe and bring about such incomprehensible cruelties to untold numbers of humanity; men, women and especially children. It defies logic, understanding and answers… Why?….
 
In Judaism, we have a concept called tikkun olum – the perfection of the world. I stand here today, in the place where so much destruction took place, I seek a pledge that all of us will go beyond hatred and bigotry to build a better world. I ask you to join me.
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My mother’s speech at the Memorial Event

In the year 1938, my parents were married in Budapest. Like any other new couple, my parents, Yehuda and Sara Meisels were looking forward to a blessed future not imagining that t e world around them is about to turn upside down. My sister Yehudit and I, Miriam, were born into the terrible years of the Second World War.

 

My father was engaged in the first years of the war in the task of saving refugees, especially Jewish children from Slovakia. He was caught doing it and as a punishment sent to clear mines from the battlefields. Somehow he survived this perilous work. Then the "Final Solution" came to Hungary. My father who as already marked as a criminal was sent in the early transport to Auschwitz. In this hell he succeeded in staying alive for a year and then was moved in the "Death March" to Buchenwald.

 

From there he was sent to the German Air Base in Pocking. His and his Jewish prisoners’ task was to repair the damage to the airport from the massive bombing of the allied forces.

 

Most of his friends there were killed by the bombing or perished due to the awful hunger. My father somehow survived. When the German forces ran westward, the American liberators found mounds of skeletons and my father was among the few who were barely alive. His 80 kilo body was now an emaciated 34 kilo

 

 After a period of regrouping my father organized the new life for the refugees who gathered from the nearby areas to Pocking. At this time my father found his wife and two daughters who survived the Budapest ghetto. A whole surviving family was indeed a rare sight then.

 

My father was then offered a position as a Rabbi in Chicago. But my father declined this chance for a quiet and tranquil life in America and my father and mother opted instead to devote their life to the rejuvenation of the broken souls who survived the holocaust. They also were privileged to establish new marriages among the refugees where my sister and I served as little bridesmaids to many of them.

 

One of the main tasks and functions my father was instrumental at was the unearthing of multitude burial sites where many bodies were dumped en masse. He reestablished orderly cemeteries to individually bury each remain and erected a monument on the graves of the adults, children and babies who were buried there, outlining the numerous names of the victims, among them victims of other religious denominations.

 

Every leader of a community strives to enlarge his flock. My father did the opposite. His ambition and undertaking was to reduce the size of the community by helping them to start a new life in other lands and mainly in the new and spiritual land of Israel which came into being in the year 1948. When this task was completed after four years, the Meisels family left Pocking and arrived in Israel on the first Independence Day of its rebirth.

 

In a wondrous way my father and Anna Rosmus discovered each other. When they were about to meet, my father, alas, died in Jerusalem. May our wonderful friend, Anna Rosmus, be blessed. She continues my father’s life undertaking to memorialize the innocent victims of the holocaust.

 

I would like to end my thoughts with a chapter from the book of Ezekiel the prophet: "Thus saith the Lord: Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. And ye know that I am the Lord. And I will put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I will place you in your own land; and ye sha1l know that I, the Lord have spoken, and performed it, saith the Lord."

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Trip Diary – Mayoral Tour of Pocking

We were picked up by George at 9am and taken to the Pocking city hall, where the mayor (Josef) and first deputy mayor (Franz) met us. They showed us thru the city hall and its gardens, including the city council room, the mayor’s office and a museum area where they are currently showing photos from an American GI who was stationed in Pocking after the war. Interestingly enough, this area of Germany didn’t revert from American Armed Forces control until 1958 when they had their first local elections.
Josef presented us with a number of gifts from the city of Pocking – a tie with their symbol (a horse rubbing its back on the ground – a local artist was tired of doing standing horses – and this statue sits in the town square by the main church), some stickers and a book on Pocking (in German) that has a mention of the restoration of the monument and my grandfather’s role in Pocking after the war.
Franz then took us on a tour around the area – we saw Bad Fussing (another town near Pocking also known for its mineral baths), and then went to the area where the DP Camps used to stand. There is nothing there now except the old heating station (that heated all the small buildings in the camp). The city has been trying to sell the land but hasn’t had any takers. I mentioned to my mother that Anna should try to buy it to place the memorial museum she wants to build. We’ll see what happens with that.
 
While visiting, we showed Franz some of the pictures from the original dedication and he mentioned that one of the buildings the procession passed was still in town – he took us there.
 
I also had to take a picture of Franz’ car – and old BMW Z1 limited edition (8,000 built, around 6,000 left).
 
Pictures:
  • Us in front of the old heating station
  • My mother in front of the building, holding open the album to the picture with the same building
  • The car from the front
  • Me in the car – note that the door slides down into the body of the car
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Trip Diary – Shabbat in Passau

On Friday night in Passau we had the first Shabbat dinner there in many years in the city hall. It’s an interesting place – with the ceiling painted in scenes from which the stories that Wagner gained inspiration from in his work. Hitler was a child in Passau (and indeed, almost drowned at five in the Danube and was saved at the last minute).
 
We had a short Friday night service where Ami, I and a survivor, Louis (I don’t recall his last name) read from the Torah. The mayor of Passau gave an excellent speech as well, and presented us with autographed books on Passau (in German). After dinner, we had a short slide show of pictures from after the war (taken by the US GIs). We then retired for the night.

Pictures:

  • This grey house in Passau was where Hitler lived as a boy
  • Some of the roof in the Passau city hall

 

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