Go Towards the Light

Umschlagplatz Memorial in Lublin (Brama Grodzka-Teatr NN)

Umschlagplatz Memorial in Lublin (Brama Grodzka-Teatr NN)

Some weeks I get a message from the Universe. This week’s is: Go towards the magic. Go towards the light.

A few weeks ago I was in Poland and I met an amazing man who is doing the work of bridge building all over the world, in Bosnia, with gang members in New York and in Poland. I hope you will come and spend more time with us on the Borderlands, he said. Yes, please!

The other day I spoke to a bright star of a woman in Britain who is helping people see themselves in the history of others. She too is a bridge builder and a visionary. Do you want to do a workshop with me on identity she asked? Boy would I!

In between magical moments I had to deal with a difficult person. A person who did not see me, my gifts, my potential or understand at all what I am here to do. My instinct when faced with someone like that used to be to show them who I am, to convince them. But now I realize that some people do not want to know, or perhaps they are not ready to know. It’s best to let them be and go towards the light.

Today I was watching video clips where my friends Witek and Tomek talk about how we are all working together to break down stereotypes, work that is essential to what the three of us have come to define as our life’s work.

Sometimes I get criticized for focusing on the positive. People have said to me, “Those Poles you talk about, remembering Jewish life, those are the exceptions.” So what? I was talking to someone the other day about how I don’t like the tabulation of the number of rescuers, those who saved Jews. Why is the number important? People are always flinging this number about, shouting about how big it is or how small it is. What if there was only one righteous person? If there was one I surely would focus greatly on that person.

I was recently in Białystok with my friend Krzysztof. We saw a monument dedicated to the Jews that were massacred in that spot. The monument listed the number of men, women and children murdered, and one baby. I first read it in Hebrew, “Ve tinok echad.” And one baby. The one baby made the hair on my arms stand up. Because it was a baby? Because it was one? Because I have had babies and could imagine the anguish of the mother (who probably did not survive)? 

In this work, in this world, in this minefield of pain and loss and remembrance and identity, where there is much that people are waiting to discover—each life has meaning. Each life that was lost has meaning. Each rescuer has meaning and each person doing memory work today has meaning and is worth highlighting.

For me, my beautiful friends in Poland are the magic and the light, and that is why I continue to go towards them and to bring others with me, across the bridge.


(Addendum: I understand that there are those who find the idea of focusing on the light in the place where their families were slaughtered offensive. I share that pain of that loss. I too lost much family in the Holocaust in Poland. Grieving is a personal process and the timing cannot be dictated from the outside. I am sharing what is true for me, and I honor your truth).