Ben-Zion Gold's memoir brings to life the world of a million Jews in pre-World War II Poland who were later destroyed by the Nazis. Warmly recalling the relationships, rituals, observances, and celebrations, Gold evokes the sense of family and faith that helped him through the catastrophe that followed. With him we experience the life and institutions of the time: the heder and hooky playing, his encounter with Hassidism, the courtship and marriage of his oldest sister, and the author's own first inkling of love. And with him, we recapture the memories that made life worth living in the face of disaster, along with the experience of the human capacity for evil that tested and transformed his faith as it devastated his world. Finally, Gold tells of the fate of his family and of his own escape from that fate.
Ben-Zion Gold was born in 1923 in Radom, Poland, and grew up in a traditional Jewish home. The sole survivor of his family, he arrived in the United States in 1947. For more than forty years he served as the director and rabbi at Harvard-Radcliff Hillel, where through teaching, innovative programs, and unique personal interactions, he inspired and motivated Jewish students, faculty, and the surrounding community to deepen their commitment to, and knowledge of, Judaism.
Introduction1. Jewish Radom2. Home and Family3. My Father's Marriage and Business4. My Religious Upbringing5. Heder6. My Sisters' Education7. Yeshiva8. Jews and Poles9. Rayzel's Engagement10. Pinye's Death11. Finding a Tutor12. The Beit HaMidrash and the Yeshiva13. Encounters with Hasidism14. Musarnikes15. Bathya's Engagement16. Love's First Glance17. Escape to Freedom18. The Encounter19. After Liberation