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THIS & THAT April 18, 2010
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Ella Gaffen Pays Tribute to a Friend

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This Month...

Editor's Comment
Michael looks at:
Farewell, Shalom and Adieu

Being Jewish Magazine

see a .pdf copy of the current issue

An Open Letter from Abba to His Family

Enough With The Political Finger-Pointing!

Revisiting the Haggadah

Eddy's Recipe List
Victoria Sponge

Book Review
Unstrung Heroes

The Outspeaker
Encouraging violence is never correct

Good times and bad times with Batya

Nathan Weissler
What my friendship with Michael Hanna-Fein meant to me

Marjorie Wolfe
An Interview with Paul Reiser

BC's Backlot
The Last Shalom

Lynn Ruth Miller
How we all became part of a bigger story

Mel Yahre
A few words for my friend

Eddy's Thoughts
Don't let life flutter by

The Bear Facts
How I found Michael


Dear Megillah Family,

Last week we honoured Holocaust Remembrance day; a day with such deep and soul wrenching meaning that it is almost impossible to imagine the reality surrounding that heinous "Final Solution" Hitler and his henchmen devised in their sick and twisted minds.

Megillah family member Ella Gaffen had the privilege of knowing Bebke Trepman, who wrote a personal testimony of her Holocaust experience and losses. Bebke was a tremendously motivated and brave woman who decided to put her thoughts and observations to paper. This piece is far longer than what we generally publish in the Gantseh Megillah, but I firmly believe that what she gives testimony to is well worth the time it takes to read and think about her experiences. You will find her entire written testimony, totally in her own words here

I trust you will be as touched as I was upon reading this elegant description of what might easily be called the most inhumane tragedy the modern world has ever known. We must all live by the words "never again."

Here is the introductory letter Ella sent to me along with Bebke's remembrances.

Some of you probably have not heard from me in a long time.. I am fine, working and enjoying life in Israel ... however today in Israel, we marked Holocaust Day - and it's been on my mind .. and many people are discussing the fact that maybe "we overdo the Holocaust bit" - Restaurants and entertainment places close early on the eve, TV is Holocaust documentaries, movies, personal stories etc.. however, I feel as long we there are enough people who want to make sure "we never forget' then we really must make sure the next generation together with our generation will "never forget" ... so I share with you my thoughts at 1:00 a.m.

I cannot sleep - I watched the different TV channels - Holocaust movies, songs, individual, incredible stories, horrific documentaries .. and I cannot sleep.. Now that I am a grandmother I realize and think 'I never had grandparents and most of my friends never had grandparents, and if lucky a couple of cousins, aunts and uncles.." and it finally dawns on me - the Holocaust is so much closer to me than I ever thought. We were lucky indeed.. we were not in the Ghetto or Camps... we were very lucky ... but we still lost so much..

I had the privilege of knowing Bebke Trepman for many years... she came from the same "school" as my mother Dora Wasserman .... The School that says:
1) you do as much as you can in your lifetime and when you do you do with passion
2) never give up on culture even if you have only one cent left
3) This life is the real thing - this is not a rehearsal... and
4) there's no such thing as tired!

I worked with Bebke as a kindergarten teacher in the Solomon Schecter School and I learned more in those couple of years than in all the years of university and teacher's college.. she was a powerhouse - we made a terrific team... she created and wrote songs in Hebrew, she convinced me to do the same in English .. she wrote plays and poems - I did the same in English .. she played piano straddling a chair so she could see the kids at the same time.. and I copied and did the same... and like Dora, my mother - there is no such thing as tired. At that time, I was the mother of my precious son Bradley .. Bubby Dora babysat so I could "get dressed and go out" and together with Bebke they insisted that I go out and teach, work with Bebke as a kindergarten team and that's how my kindergarten teacher years started.

I last saw Bebke at my mother's funeral - she had walked all the way from Cote St Luc to Paperman's - at least 10 km .. and that's how I remember her .. always independent, active, full of life. and always there where she has to be .. she never carried her monstrous past with her on "the outside"!

I was privileged to know her and her family , especially Charlotte who has become a special friend - and we keep in touch even from far .. Charlotte who together with her wonderful husband is carrying the torch of Jewish life, passing on the importance of Jewishness, the importance of "never forget" and the importance of Eretz Yisroel to her children and in her community.

Paul Trepman, Babey's husband, was a Yiddish teacher at the JPPS and he wrote his memoirs which was published as a book, just as my friend Chana Broder's mother had hers published. And now Charlotte sent me her mother's brief testimony - which is now on my desktop and think as many people as possible should read and share this personal memoir .. so much pain, grief, suffering and incredible endurance and passion for life - so in spite of one's past one can build a great future ... I pass it on... and hope you will read and pass on... one person, one life, one wonderful magnificent example of a real human being who outlived and outshone the monsters of her nightmares.

Our parents (who suffered those terrible war years, each their own hell, because war is hell .. who were uprooted, on the run, hungry, fiercely fighting for the right to live, protecting their children) .. our parents and all the other survivors are the true heroes of this world and I am truly grateful for having the privilege to be their legacy. I hope my children will be the bearers of their torches... for this is our responsibility - never to forget.

See the attached memoir of Babey (Bebke) Trepman... I have passed on the various comments I received to Charlotte.

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