February 22

My parents, both Holocaust survivors, he, having survived Siberia and Central Asia, she, Auschwitz and a slave labor camp, met in 1947 in Occupied Germany. He was driving an Army truck which he used, in off-hours, to transport passengers from one German town to another. My mother and her sister boarded the truck. My aunt told my mother “Look at that handsome man!”. My father was 27 and my mother, 23.They started to spend time together. My mother was an orphan, his parents (and five siblings) had survived. He invited her to his parents’ home (a hut) for Shabbat. She walked in and saw the Sabbath candlesticks, the white tablecloth and the challa. “I knew everything was going to be all right,” she later told me. They were married under a canopy, in the frigid, icy, snowy German night, under the stars. It was February 22. For years to come, I would tease her, “You were married on Washington’s Birthday!” Clearly, she hadn’t known. She just knew that she was fulfilling her own destiny as a woman, a daughter of Israel. “My life began when I met your father,” she said.

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