Hello again and welcome back! I hope that you all are doing well and staying safe through this pandemic that has gripped the world. I am doing well and staying safe, doing a lot of reading lately and working on this blog. This will probably be my shortest blog ever, but I wanted you to meet someone that I recently learned about.
Yeffim Isakovich is 100 years old. When he was two his father was killed on his way to work in Belarus, as part of an anti-Semitic attack. Young Yeffim was raised by his mother who had very little knowledge of Judaism faith and traditions.
When he was in university, WWII started and young Yeffim was drafted into the Red Army where he fought the Nazi’s in Czechoslovakia.
There is little known, and too be found on the internet about Yeffim. What I was able to find said that a recently found birth certificate shows that his given name is actually Chaim. And his 100th birthday fell on the fifth night of Hanukah in 2019. On this night Rabbi Danziger of Rostov, Russia, helped Yeffim light his very first menorah.
Lighting your first menorah, is as exciting as getting your first Christmas tree, you feel like a little kid again. Yeffim, who had been through so much hate in his life, still had persevered and started a new tradition at age 100! It just goes to show us that it is never too late in life to learn something new.
Rabbi Danzinger had this to say about Yeffim: “This is a story of Jewish perseverance. If we ever think it’s too late for us to take on a new mitzvah, or make a change in our life, think of this man. Yeffim lived through adversity from his earliest years and he’s still embracing and returning to his roots at age 100.”
Like Yeffim we all have the power to embrace our future and return to our roots, we can learn from the children of today to keep that power of wonder and we can learn from those who went before us and keep traditions alive.
I hope that you all enjoyed this short story of Yeffim and will join me here again for another story from the Holocaust. Until then, stay safe and healthy.