The Song Was True
“The Man From Vilna” (Abie Rottenberg; Journeys IV) moved people to tears. Many people assumed that it belonged to the genre of stories that Rabbi Berel Wein calls ones “that may not have happened, but should have.”
But the story was true, the one about a little boy who substituted for a Sefer Torah in the shul on a Simchas Torah after the Holocaust. Moreover, the little boy turns out to be Abe Foxman of the ADL, and through the efforts of a researcher, he was reunited with the Soviet soldier who lofted him in the air in the Vilna shul.
Neither had been aware of the other. Yesterday, Foxman met the soldier, a recently retired frum rov in Oak Park
Abe Foxman has devoted his life to fighting anti-semitism. Rabbi Goldman went from being a Soviet soldier to a rabbi. Both have made the world a better place. I am glad for both of them that they met again.
Rabbi Goldman is a wonderful person. He was a communal rabbi for many years and a chaplain at a local hospital where he helped thousands of Jewish patients deal with adversity in a loving, compassionate, and faith-based way. Although he is recently retired [as of just two years ago he still led a minyan every afternoon in the JCC] he is a person that is admired and beloved by Jews of many stripes who came to know him through his efforts in Detroit. May he be granted many more healthy and happy years!
Rabbi Leo Goldman learned in the Zvehiler Yeshiva in Eastern Europe prior to WW2 and his service as an army officer. He also knew R. Pinchas Kehati (later, a famous Mishna commentator in Israel) and R. Zorach Warhaftig in Europe.
We are very grateful for all he did for our family when we lived in his Oak Park, MI neighborhood.
Doesn’t the song describe the protagonist as a concentration camp survivor, with a number on his arm, while the article says he was a soldier?
Although the outline of the song might be true, it sure sounded like it had been embellished for dramatic effect.
Was it that the original story wasn’t dramatic enough?