Friday, October 21, 2016

Thin Skinned?

The goal of this blog is to adjust some attitudes around the Friday night dinner table. Please share.
skin cross-sectionThank you to all who continue to respond to our 36¢ challenge.

Last week, I mentioned visiting the assisted living folks, talking about smiles, and making new friends.

This week, a story of serendipity, followed by a challenge.

Serendipitously, one of the new friends I made on Yom Kippur is a certain Mr. and Mrs. Lowen.

He is 92 and she 90, and both are sharp as a tack.

He was born in Frankfurt. By 14 he had learned Hebrew and French, and a solid background in Torah and Talmud.

Then he witnessed Kristallnacht in Frankfurt, after which the Gestapo arrested his father and sent him to a camp.

Miraculously, his mother was able to get him released after a month. How?

She went to the police station and proved that he had served the Fatherland in WWI.

But they saw the writing on the wall. They put him and his brother on the famous Kindertransport to the UK in the late spring of 1939.

The parents never got out.

In England, they were hosted by a non-Jewish family, a big challenge for boys from a kosher home.

Her story is no less dramatic. Her family had fled to Milan, only to flee again a year later.

And here they are today, 78 years later, married for 70 years.

And they show no sign of malice, no hint of rancor. They told me they never returned to Germany and would not ever; yet they are people of faith, from families of faith, and one can see their parents' glow in their eyes so many years later.

This morning I asked Mr. and Mrs. Lowen if they had a message for the 1,000 people who read this email-blog every week.

She said, "Believe in God."

He said, "Love God."

Some people say, "How can I believe in God, let alone love God, after the Holocaust?"

Maybe they should ask the Lowens.

I've often said that the hardest two words in the English language are "I'm sorry," and the second-hardest are "I'm wrong."

Question for your table: What are the third hardest two words?

I would suggest: When someone apologizes to you, to say, "It's okay."

So I would like to suggest an appendix to last week's challenge.

Train yourself to become excellent at saying "It's okay" — even when they don't apologize.
To do so, you need to know that you matter, you were created for a purpose, and that the struggle itself, that's your purpose. There is no greater joy than knowing that. 

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Sukkot/Simchat Torah

PS -  Here are some great inspirational quotes about forgiveness. And here. (My favorite: “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” (N. Mandela) What's yours?)
When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future.
Read more at:
When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future.
Read more at:

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