A Place of Perilous Danger and Hope
Over recent weeks, I’ve watched the unfolding events in Ukraine with horror. I traveled there in 2011 to the town that my maternal grandparents came from, Kamenetz-Podolsk. It is a town with a 13th century fairy tale castle in its midst, turrets rising high above the city. I imagine my family living in the shadow of those lofty spires. My grandfather left there in 1911 to come to the United States to avoid being drafted into the army. Ten years later my grandmother came in the wake of a pogrom. All that survived was a story of their ten-year-old daughter who died in that pogrom, along with many other Jews. That was to be followed by further massacres during WWII for any family that had the bad fortune to remain. That has been my association with Ukraine, a place of perilous danger.
Recent events have certainly supported that perception of danger, now directed at the Ukrainian population. It has also caused me to feel both empathy for its brave people and not a small amount of pride in their Jewish president. Little did I expect that changes since my grandparents' day would lead to the election of a Jewish president in a landslide. His courage and communication skills have stood him in good stead as he rises to the occasion –perhaps a response to perilous danger resides in genetic memory. Read more at A Place of Perilous Danger. . . and hope.