Happy April Everyone!
Walking into my local Barnes and Noble bookstore I immediately headed up the escalator to the religion section. Conveniently it is located just next to the Barnes and Noble Jr. section so we had to stop and pick up a Passover book for the little one. As I headed down the Religion aisle I was amazed at how my entire bookcases of Christian books there were. Rows upon rows of such books and Bibles filled the shelves. Christian…. New Age… Eastern Philosophy… But where was the Judaica section? Surely we have not been forgotten in such a large retail giant?!
I circled around the aisle until I hit the Mythology section and frowned. I couldn’t find Jewish books anywhere! Finally I slowed down and really took a hard look. There towards the bottom of one of the bookcases was a single shelf labeled “Judaica/Kabbalah/Buddhism”. My mouth popped open in shock. Well… that isn’t much to browse is it! Still, I managed to walk away with several great books. This brings me to my book-of-the-month:
“One Generation After” By: Elie Wiesel (2011)
“Twenty years after he and his family were deported from Sighet to Auschwitz, Elie Wiesel returned to his hometown in search of the watch- a bar mitzvah gift- he had buried in his backyard before they left”. (Source)
So why this book? And why now? Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) begins on sundown on April 15th to sundown April 16th, 2015. But I’m getting ahead of myself. If you are unfamiliar with Elie Wiesel let me give you a brief introduction to who the author of this book is:
“Elie Wiesel was born in modern-day Romania and was 15 years old when he and his family was taken by the Nazis and placed in the concentration camp, Auschwitz. His mother and younger sister perished there. His two older sisters survived. Meanwhile, Elie and his father were taken and moved to another camp, Buchenwald, where his father died before the camp was liberated in April 1945.” (Source: The Elie Wiesel Foundation)
Wiesel went on to become a French journalist before finally immigrating to America. He has written over 50 books and won a Nobel Peace Prize. He has been one of the most visible Holocaust survivors to speak up and share his story with the world. His books are both moving, tragically sad, but also empowering to stand up against injustice so that history never repeats itself. I have read several other books by Elie Wiesel and each and every time I walk away with much “food for thought”. His words paint such vivid imagery, and help the reader to think and question the mysteries of life. I have no doubt this book will follow in a similar fashion.
I think it takes courage and heart to write such a personal account of your life and story. Writing a narrative one must re-live and re-visit those dark places that the mind often tries to block out. But Elie Wiesel doesn’t block anything out. Instead he uses such a negative, horrific experience to help educate others. He stands up for peace. It’s no wonder he won a Nobel Peace Prize! I hope you all pick up a copy of his book and read a long with me with month. I will be writing my thoughts about this book on April 30th so keep an eye out for that post then. Until then, have a wonderful and blessed day everyone! L’Chaim!