"I first met
Menachem about 15 years ago, when I started taking an active role in the
Organization of Polish Jews, (Hitachdut Yehuday Polin). I found in
Menachem a person of culture who was well read and who was cultivating a huge
library including books in Hebrew, Polish and English. Menachem spoke several
languages and was a great conversational companion.
Due to my
appreciation for these qualities of his, we indeed used to hold private,
non-work-related meetings (usually at the Judith coffee shop at the Gan Ha'ir
Center in Tel Aviv*), during which we discussed
not only Polish Jewry but any and every subject that came up and was of
interest. Naturally though, Polish Jewry was always at the top of the list and
especially Belchatow and Zaglembia.
This was a
period of substantial change in the organization. Some top management figures
had passed on, a new board had been elected. And when I was elected to head the
financial committee, I got Menachem to join as member and we cooperated and
worked together in harmony.
Both of us
had the honor of meeting with Polish presidents during visits of these
presidents to Israel. We also had the privilege of meeting with the Polish Prime
Minister as well as with other Polish dignitaries.
I can't say
how many times Menachem met with Prof. Bertoshevski, president of The
International Auschwitz organization, because every time of the countless number
of times Prof. Bertoshevski visited Israel, they met to discuss the situation in
Poland as well as new developments concerning Auschwitz.
last few years, ever since the passing of his wife, our meetings became less
frequent and the bond came loose.
and not forgotten." [Chaval al deavdin velo mishtakchin.**]
Ha'ir is a stylish half-open-air shopping center next to Tel Aviv City Hall.
al deavdin velo mishtakchin”: This is a traditional saying in ancient
Aramaic which is said at the end of a eulogy for a great person or leader.
Meaning: We long after the great people who are unfortunately lost to us and
no longer with us, because these great people are not common people and
therefore impossible to replace or forget. The origin of this saying is in the
gmara, Sanhedrin book. God says it to Moses to express his annoyance with him
due to his asking questions rather than filling commands blindly. God wishes
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who did not question God, was still around, but these
great forefathers had already been dead, lost and no longer around, but because
they were so great and special it was impossible to replace or forget them.
[Translated from the Hebrew, with footnotes, by Miri
daughter-in-law of Moshe Rosental, Menachem's cousin.]