Documentary on Fanya Gottesfeld Heller focuses on the relationships she developed speaking in
inner-city schools about her wartime experience.
The first time Holocaust survivor Fanya Gottesfeld Heller told her story at Pacific High School, an alternative public school in downtown Brooklyn, she jumped every time a school bell sounded. The students, mostly black and Latino, all from low-income and troubled homes, noticed.
And all understood. Some 70 years after she came under Nazi rule as a young teen in her native Ukraine, and some 50 years after she immigrated to the United States, part of her is still that frightened adolescent.
The ranks of Orthodox rebels, despite being a tiny percentage of a small part of the Jewish community, are drawing a major share of notice in recent days. Books and magazine articles, documentaries and Off-Broadway plays tell the stories of young men and women — products of chasidishe and yesivishe upbringings that shield them from the outside world’s secular values — who step outside what they see as narrowly drawn circles.
Jerusalem — Rabbi Yosef Carmel, an Israeli Army veteran and founder of an advanced training center for Israeli rabbis, received an unexpected call from overseas the other day.
The call was from an Israeli, a secular businessman whose real estate dealings in Romania with a religious Romanian Jew had become strained.
A lawsuit, with 400,000 euros at risk (more than $500,000), was pending.
Don’t go to a civil court in Romania, a Bucharest rabbi advised the Israeli — call Rabbi Carmel.