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Lost souls - Forwarded by Christine

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  • golden3000997@cs.com
    Lost souls Jerusalem Post; 11/1/2002; RUTHIE BLUM Jerusalem Post 11-01-2002 Headline: Lost souls Byline: RUTHIE BLUM Edition; Daily Section: Opinion Page: 16
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 29, 2004
      Lost souls

      Jerusalem Post; 11/1/2002; RUTHIE BLUM

      Jerusalem Post


      Headline: Lost souls
      Byline: RUTHIE BLUM
      Edition; Daily
      Section: Opinion
      Page: 16

      Friday, November 1, 2002 -- 'Excuse me, would you mind holding my place while
      I go upstairs to foreign currency?" Dina asks, rifling through an oversized
      straw purse that has just been mauled by the security guard at the door.

      "Dina, is that you?" answers the person ahead of her in line to whom she has
      addressed her request.

      Dina looks up, startled by the stranger's recognition. Worried that she won't
      be able to reciprocate. Lately, she's been so forgetful that she considers it
      a miracle when she can remember her own name, let alone anyone else's. At
      this moment, for example, she can't find the power-of-attorney document she needs
      for the transaction she has to complete for her housebound father.

      "Yes..." she says, squinting slightly, pushing the search button inside her
      brain to place this unfamiliar face in some context that will jar her memory.
      Hoping the woman will volunteer some morsel of information that will expedite
      the process.

      "It's me. Irit. You know, Yoav's mother. From the anthroposophic

      "Wow..." Dina says, grateful for being rescued. And reminded. "Of course.
      How've you been?" she asks.

      "Oh, you know, surviving in this reality like everyone else. How about you?
      How's Tamir?" Irit asks, referring to Dina's son, whom she hasn't seen since
      the boys graduated the Rudolf Steiner preschool together.

      "He's fine," Dina says, pulling her waist-length braid out from under the
      strap of her satchel. "He's at Auschwitz right now."

      "Oh, how wonderful for him!" Irit bubbles. "Yoav has been dying to go on one
      of those concentration-camp trips, but each time something's come up to
      prevent him. Last year, it was rehearsals for his school's production of Brecht's
      Threepenny Opera and this year it was his first call-up for the army."

      "Well, I'm not so sure I approve of these missions, to tell you the truth,"
      Dina says, shifting her weight from one Birkenstock clog to the other. "Some of
      the kids come back completely devastated, and I don't think their teachers
      are equipped to deal with it. Nor am I sure I approve of this whole orgy
      surrounding the Holocaust."

      "Isn't that the whole point, though?" Irit runs her fingers, covered in
      hand-made silver rings, through her cropped salt-and-pepper hair. "You know, to
      shake them up? Give them a glimpse into the horrors of fascism and genocide?"

      Dina shrugs. "A lot of good that seems to be doing," she says, pointing at
      the PR photos of Prime Minister Sharon and Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer hanging
      on the wall above the tellers.

      "I know what you mean," Irit sighs. "I really worry about us losing our soul.
      But that's why I'm in favor of sending the kids to Poland. Especially since
      they'll be in uniform themselves by next year."

      "I agree," says Dina. "But, like everything else in this country, it's done
      by shooting from the hip first and thinking about the consequences later. Not
      to mention the mockery some of the groups have made of it. Remember that
      disgusting incident a couple of years ago when a bunch of the kids on the trip hired
      strippers to come to their hotel rooms to perform?"

      "Oh yeah, I remember reading something about that in the newspaper..." Irit
      giggles slightly, thinking about Dina's reference to the orgy surrounding the
      Holocaust. "But that was an isolated incident. And don't forget that they're
      kids, after all; on a class trip with all their friends. So they're bound to get
      a little rowdy here and there."

      "WHAT ABOUT teaching them to appreciate the depths of the evil of
      anti-Semitism?" interrupts a man who has been eavesdropping on their conversation. "What
      about teaching them the meaning behind 'never again'?" His wife, who has been
      clucking her tongue throughout the women's exchange, tugs at his arm.

      "Shah," she says quietly, "Don't get yourself all excited. It's not worth

      "Not that it's any of your business, sir," responds Irit curtly, "but 'never
      again' is precisely what I want to teach my son. That he shouldn't sink to the
      level of the Nazis. That he shouldn't lose his soul."

      "Do you think the Nazis sat around worrying about losing their souls?" he
      raises his voice, while shooing his wife away. "Do you think the Palestinians sit
      around worrying about losing their souls? No! All they do is plot how to kill
      Jews and then do it! It's your life - and your son's - you should be worried
      about losing!"

      "You'll make yourself sick," his wife warns, trying to steer him away from
      the scene of contention.

      "Those kids have to see the gas chambers so that when they come home and put
      on their IDF uniforms, they'll understand that if they die, they'll do so
      defending themselves as sovereign Jewish soldiers, not as branded cattle being led
      to the slaughter!"

      "I've really got to go and take care of business before the bank closes,"
      Dina says, finally locating the document she was looking for among the clutter in
      her purse.

      Irit nods, focused more on the rebuttal she's planning than on Dina's

      As Dina makes her way to the steps, she hears what she hopes will be the tail
      end of the dispute she had no inclination to enter. She is tired of having
      the Holocaust served on a platter at every opportunity - by every right- winger,
      left-winger and centrist - for the purpose of winning political and moral
      arguments. She plans on raising this issue at her "Children of Survivors"
      support-group meeting tonight.

      But first things first.

      "I'd like to exchange the Deutschmarks in this account for shekels, please,"
      she says, handing the foreign- currency teller her father's reparations notice
      and power- of-attorney.

      The clerk is courteous. "No problem," she says, "Only it's in euros now,


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