By Rafi Cohen
I never met my mum’s dad, he passed away before I was born. But my mum and her siblings regale his grandchildren with great anecdotes, funny stories and tales from his life. He was by all accounts a wonderful person and many people in the community have fond memories of him.
Escaping Germany in January 1939 he came to England alone on the Kindertransport and was fortunate to be joined later by his parents and younger sister. He grew up in Edgware, married and had four children and instilled them all with a strong love of Israel. They all went to sviva in Edgware as chanichim and madrichim, they took camp and Israel Machane and most of them have lived in Israel at some point in their lives.
My aunt was perhaps the most involved. After a year in Israel on Hachshara and several subsequent summers at Midreshet Lindenbaum she became an active member of the Hanhalla. Not long after, she married and made Aliyah and she and her family now live in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
Two weeks ago, she travelled to Leeds for work and came down to London to spend Shabbat with her mum and her sister’s family (that’s me). Over the course of the usual anecdote filled Friday night dinner we realised that the coming Tuesday was Grandpa’s yahrtzeit and she would be stuck in Leeds with no guarantee of a minyan at which to say kaddish.
This was the time for Bnei Akiva to step in and look after one of its own. I told her I would get in touch with several bogrim I know in Leeds and that they would know what to do and where to go. Sure enough, it only took a few minutes after Shabbat was out to get all the minyan options and times. On the Tuesday morning several people had messaged me saying they’d met my aunt and chatted with her, and she sent me a message thanking those who had looked after her and made her feel welcome.
So in short, this is a thank you to those bogrim, whose love of Israel and Religious Zionist lifestyle, connected them with a bogeret, who was saying kaddish for the man who instilled in her that same love of Israel, and who made her feel welcome when she was a stranger, and at home when she was half way around the world.
(*Don’t worry if you don’t get the reference)