When I entered rabbinical school in 1988, I simply wanted to be a rabbi of a small congregation; one no larger than 300 families.  It would be similar to the one that I was a part of for 22 years, before I entered Hebrew Union College.  I never imagined Belarus, let alone heard much of it.

            But now, having participated in four restorations, I can only say that this has become a part of my rabbinic soul; as much as anything text that I have studied, life cycle events that I have been so privileged to participate in, or services that I have led, from the High Holy Days to the Shabbat.

            One particular experience from last year is etched in my memory.  We had heard oral testimony of a Christian woman who had lived just outside the Lunna Wolla Ghetto.  She and her family told us of ten men who had escaped to a nearby village.  They were captured by the Nazis and taken to the Jewish Forest Cemetery just outside of the Ghetto.  There, they were forced to dig a mass grave and then were shot, buried, and entirely forgotten.  In fact one of the survivors of the Lunna Wolla Ghetto, now living in the United States, had never heard of this incident.

            This, in and of itself, is not so remarkable. But then a prominent newspaper publication contacted us.  They were interested in our project, but wanted the story corroborated.  There was one other survivor who was living in Israel that we knew of through his niece.  She contacted him and he confirmed the story, adding important details that were omitted from the woman’s account.  The newspaper eventually decided not to run the story.  That’s not important.  What is important is that these ten people are not now, nor will they ever be, forgotten again.  It is a small measure justice that is nonetheless important.  It is one that the Torah commands us when it states,   “Remember what Amalek did to you…. Do not forget.”  How easy it is to so forget.  How difficult it is to remember.  Such is the sacred work that Dartmouth students, Jew and non-Jew alike, who are engaged in each year and that I am so blessed to be a part of.


Edward S. Boraz, Ph.D.
Michael Steinberg ’61 Rabbi of Dartmouth College Hillel