Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Ode to Blogger

UPDATE: I've actually come back to this blog, so click here for the newest postings. But you can go to the other blog for May 2005 - August 2005 postings. Just remember to come back here.


This will be my last post on this blog. I am moving Divah World to If this is your first visit here, feel free to read the earlier posts before moving on.

My first post in the new space will explain why I've moved. I'd like to devote this space to why I like Blogger, and would recommend it if you want your own blog.

When I first decided to blog, I wasn't sure about my commitment. I needed something that would be easy to use and unintimidating to set up. Blogger certainly filled those requirements. There are a lot of good page templates to choose from so you get a nice look. Someone who is a novice at all things internet would have no problem getting up and running in minutes. And, of course, there's the big bonus---it's free.

You are quickly able to blog like a pro--adding links and photos. And I found ways to use my primitive knowledge of HTML to customize my page. If I was very proficient in HTML, I don't think I would have moved. If you know HTML, you can use the full access Blogger give you to your template to get the look you want.

Unfortunately, I am somewhere in between novice and expert. So I need to go to a host that is set up to give me the flexibility I want while holding my hand a bit through the process.

But if you just want to blog and are happy with the basics, or are HTML savvy enough to change whatever you wish, I totally recommend Blogger. It's been a good home to Divah World. Who knows, if I learn enough in my HTML course in the Fall, I just might be back........

Thursday, May 05, 2005


My friend Goldie Rassen is a Holocaust survivor. She was a student in Lithuania when the Nazis came to power. She hasn't told me much of her story. She was in a concentration camp, she made it through. That's all she tells me.

Goldie and I went to a funeral today, the funeral of another survivor--my friend Beverly's mother, Erna Pinto. Erna, her late husband Erich and Goldie are survivors who all stayed close to their Jewish faith. This is not something to be taken for granted. These are people who directly experienced the worst that mankind can give. They had to have questioned the omnipotent God who allowed this to happen.

Today is Yom HaShoah, a day of Remembrance for those lost in the Holocaust. At lunch after the funeral, Goldie talked about her feelings about faith in God. Now, this is a women who goes to services almost every Shabbat. A woman to whom Judaism and its survival is paramount. But does she believe in God? Does she think that Jewish practice brings you closer to God, or God closer to you? The answer is complicated.

Goldie knows that adherence to Jewish practice is what will keep Judaism alive for the generations to come. A teacher at heart, she wants Jews to know Hebrew, to read the literature, the poetry, the teachings that Judaism has to give, both secular and sacred. But God's role in all this? Goldie pointed to the fork on the table, "So, God will see and care whether the fork used is milchig (dairy) or fleishig (meat), but God couldn't see what was happening with the Nazi's?" She shrugged.

She told me other stories of her husband, of her life after the camp--stories I won't go into here. Some stories she couldn't complete--tears got in the way.

However she feels about God, seeing my faith in Judaism gives her much joy. I've told her that I don't understand how or why I am so involved. I'm not sure where it comes from. But it's there and it pours out of me and I'm able to help others tap into the spirit. That's what Goldie sees. However she feels, she understands and appreciates what I feel. If I can give her that, I have accomplished something in life.

Yom Ha Shoah

" . . . I should like someone to remember that there once lived a person named David Berger."
David Berger in his last letter, Vilna 1941

I found this quote on the Yad Vashem website.

My friend Goldie Rassen, herself a survivor, says Kaddish - the prayer for those who are gone - every Shabbat. She stands and recites the prayer for those lost in the Holocaust, with no one left to say Kaddish for them. Lately I have realized that when she is gone, I will stand and say the Kaddish for them. It is one small way I can be sure that there is a remembrance of David Berger and all the rest.

When I look at photos like these from, the website of the National Assembly of Hebrew students, taken at the end of the Warsaw Uprising

and these taken by two SS officers of the arrivals at Auschwitz

I can't help but put myself in their places. These are my people; they are my family. I have always felt that, from the time I was a young girl. I used to wonder--would I have survived? There is no way to answer that question. All we can do now is remember, and keep the light of Judaism alive.

And so, my Yom HaShoah Yarzheit candle is lit in remembrance of those we lost and to remember that through those of us who are here, the Jewish people will survive.