I think of my grandmothers: Miryam, devout and nurturing; Ruchel, independent and rebellious. Who would they be if they lived in my world, faced with the same choices and contradictions? What is the point of religion--of studying history--if not to make us more able to choose to rise above hatred, violence, fear?
In the lobby of the hotel where the conference is held, I stop to look at a bulletin board covered with over five hundred messages. One reads: "HAVE YOU SEEN MY SISTER? I last saw her in a hospital in France in 1942. If you have any information about her, PLEASE call." I move through the lobby, round a corner, and overhear a conversation between two men who work for the hotel, a Black and a Hispanic:
"Man, have you looked at that bulletin board?"
"You oughta look at that bulletin board--after all this time, people are still looking for lost brothers and sisters. The stuff these people have been through--nobody on earth should have to go through that. Nobody."
Rachel Federman Altman, November 1991