What a surprise it was to read Stephen Hundley’s article in last week’s edition on Vera Hoffman and Chaim Melamed’s visit to a 10th grade class at RHHS, while having lunch at Beef O’Brady’s last Saturday.
The article was well-written, and I was glad to see that RHHS had invited these two survivors to share their story with the students. I only wish a larger number of students had been able to hear their stories.
I have been lucky to know Vera Hoffman and her husband Joe for some 30 years, and they are delightful people. It is a sad commentary on life and people in general that what happened to them and others of their time is not only a true story, but also more commonplace throughout history than most people would have any idea.
It is important that people like Chaim and Vera share their stories with the younger generations. Only by hearing the truth can we teach our next generations that it is important to be prepared to fight evil in our own time.
I would be pleased to recommend two very important books that help explain a lot about this dark period in our history, and about the middle east in general. Both are classics. One is Exodus, by Leon Uris, which tells the tale specifically of the efforts of the Jewish people to simply live. The other is The Source, by James Michener, which takes us back in time to ~50,000 BC, and unfolds the story of the various peoples who lived in that particular crossroads of the middle east that we now call Israel. Michener’s story starts with the excavation of an archaeological site, and stops every so often to take the reader on a tour of life during the time of the particular layer being unearthed. It is a marvelous read, and a wonderful way to bring life to past generations.
My thanks to those at RHHS who invited Mr. Melamed and Mrs. Hoffman to speak to that class. It was an important "living history lesson" I am sure those students will never forget.