The Jewish Innovation
I’m terrified lying in bed at night trying to sleep. I close my eyes and see 6 other people in a bunk in the dark next to me. Is it better not knowing??
Part of me thinks that the stories I’m unearthing now are too brutal to share, that I should just forget about what happened and move on, but the other part of me knows that we NEED to keep talking about what happened, the brutal truth, all the time, forever more. We can’t and shouldn’t forget. Connecting deeply with other people, especially those we don’t understand or have been taught to hate, is critical in making this world a safer place to be.
Excerpt from “Assimilation” – one of 10 stories I’ve written to be included in the ebook.
“When I was a lot younger, like maybe in first grade, two brothers who lived down the street from us on Beachwood Drive in Burbank knocked on our door on a sunny Saturday morning. They were Steve and Mike Kilgore, probably eight and ten respectively, all-American boys with blond hair, blue eyes, and crew cuts.
I opened the door.
The brothers spoke boldly and with no humor at all.
“The police are going to come and get you. We called them and they’re coming.”
My heart raced with fear. I did not doubt the boys. They were the “cool” boys on our block.
“What? Why?,” I asked.
Suddenly, my mom yelled out from the back room, “Who’s at the door?!!!”
At the sound of my mom’s angry voice, the boys ran off.
I closed the door and could find no solace in the comfort of my living room.
Were we so different? So strange? That we had to be “run off” the street? Just because my parents spoke with accents and we were the only democrats on the block?
I wonder what it would be like to be in a world where everyone is just like me? But it’s probably impossible to find a world where everyone is a first generation American Polish Swiss Protestant Jew. Maybe if both my parents were Jewish, things would be easier? Or both Protestant? But I quickly discovered at a young age that being a mutt in America in the 60s had it’s drawbacks.”
1) How was your own life affected from the traumatic experiences of your father?
This is a very difficult question to answer in just a couple of paragraphs. I’ve had a long and varied life and I believe that every thing about my life has been affected by the traumatic experiences of my father. Not a moment goes by when I don’t think about him and everything I experience is reflected in the past. It’s as if I’m living in the contemporary world and the past all at the same time, the images going back-and-forth like a strobe light. This flashback is constant and I can’t stop it from happening. On a gorgeous sunny day at the beach, for instance, I will think about the gorgeous sunny day when my father was ripped from his home in Lodz, stripped of all his belongings and sent to the ghetto.
First and foremost, my father’s experiences damaged his body and soul to such an extent that he died at a young age (49), leaving me with no father at the age of 12. This loss alone has been devastating to my life and in turn the life of my daughter. There is no telling what my life would have been like had he lived a long and healthy life.
Feelings of profound worthlessness and sometimes helplessness and depression have dogged me my whole life, as well as self-destructive tendencies.
Since my mother was not Jewish, we didn’t get comfort from the Jewish religion or community. Not that they wouldn’t have given it us but we never once asked for it or sought refuge.
I am only now, at age 53, feeling comfortable in my own skin. It’s really helped me, to discover the truth about my father’s experiences. It’s incredibly sad, yes, but better than not knowing.
What Will You Do with the Money?
The money will go toward Daniela Repas, the animator, and DeReau K. Farrar, the composer. We need studio time with which to record the original music as well as the narration. We will be paying the professional Musicians and the Audio Engineer a fee. Finally, we’re paying a Line-Producer to coordinate all the elements during the production of the segment.
I hope you will join me in this commitment, by pledging whatever you can to ensure that “Heart Broken, Heart Found” reaches the eyes, ears and hearts of a new generation.