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
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