Tag Archives: Golda Meir

On International Woman’s Day: A Tribute to the Famous Woman I admire most. My mother

Mom2

Today is International Woman’s Day and one of my social media friends posted the question, “Which famous woman do you admire most?”  Although my initial reaction was to say Golda Meir, I chose to change my answer to Sipora Groen.  Sipora Groen is my mother, and although my book about my parents and how they survived the 4 years of Nazi occupation in Holland isn’t the bestseller I naturally hoped it would be, I think enough people know about my mother to classify her as famous.  If that’s not enough, let me tell you why how admirable she is makes up for where you may not consider her famous enough for this discussion.

Sipora Rodrigues-Lopes was born in Amsterdam on January 1, 1922.  Sipora lost her mother when she was a young girl of only 13 and  was left with a large share of the responsibility in raising her younger brother Bram.  Prior to the war Sipora fell in love and got engaged to a young man named Hans.  At the outbreak of the war in Holland she was studying to be a nurse, and when the Nazis occupied Amsterdam and began the process of rounding up the Jews and transporting them to the death camps, Sipora was living in the nurse’s quarters of the Jewish hospital.  Her personal life was turned upside down seemingly forever when not only her father and brother fled Amsterdam to ultimately be captured and murdered by the Nazis, but the love of her life and fiance Hans was taken away to Auschwitz.  Alone and feeling hopeless, all she had was the work she had taking care of the sick patients.  If not for Nardus Groen, my father of blessed memory,  the man she would later spend her life with, she likely would have been transported to her death along with the majority of the patients.  Instead she began a journey with Nardus through the Dutch countryside that took her from place to place, through homes of righteous Dutch people who put the value of life over religious belief or personal danger.  Ultimately she ended up in the home of Lubertus & Geeske te Kiefte, the righteous and courageous couple that risked sacrificing everything in order to give her a safe home in the small town of Lemerlerveld for almost a year and a half until the war ended.

As the war ended in Europe, Nardus joined the Dutch Marines to help in the fight against the Japanese, not knowing till later that Sipora was pregnant with his child.  Part of the reason Nardus didn’t know was because originally Sipora didn’t know.  She took a job in a local hospital when upon feeling tired and worn down she was told by the Director of the hospital that she was indeed with child.  She moved back to Amsterdam only to find her home now occupied by the housekeeper who was with the family before the war.  The housekeeper pushed Sipora to leave the house despite her now advanced pregnancy, forcing her to take a very small apartment with very little heat in winter. If not for the help of her father’s childhood friend who gave money for her new home, Sipora might have found herself pregnant and homeless right right after spending 5 years running and hiding from the Nazis and losing so many of the people closest to her.  Just a few months after the birth of her son Marcel, Sipora would contract the lung disease known as pleurisy and would spend months in the hospital away from what felt like the one hope she had in life, her newborn son.

With his love for Sipora and a now a son, Nardus chose to leave the military and return to Holland where he would try to help rebuild the now decimated Jewish community.  He would be ordained as a Rabbi and start the process of building a family with Sipora who was now his wife.

Nardus and Sipora would have 5 children and would move often from place to place.  They ended up in America in the late 1950’s where they would live till 1976.  In 1976 they would move back to Holland where Nardus would take over a synagogue in the town of Arnhem while taking on responsibilities of the Jewish communities in 6 provinces throughout the country.  At the same time Sipora would become Director of the Jewish old age home in Arhem where she would be loved and respected by residents and employees alike.   After years of hard work between the 2 of the them, and setting themselves up for their senior years, Nardus and Sipora would retire, first to the Dutch seaside town of Zandvoort and later to Boynton Beach, Florida.

On June 13 of this year it will be 10 years since my father Nardus Groen passed away.  I’ve learned this about my mother during the time since his death.  This is in many ways my mother Sipora’s 5th life.  The first life, the most innocent and peaceful was the one she lived till the age of 13 when she lost her mother.  The second was the next 5 years, a time of peace in Europe but a time of both love and difficulty for Sipora.   The 3rd, and unquestionably the hardest was the 5 years of the war, a time we can try to comprehend but never fully understand.  The 4th were the relatively normal but still often very difficult years following the war, where she and Nardus worked hard and sacrificed to raise 5 children, experiencing all the trials and tribulations any family would during decades of normal life.  This was the longest of her lives to date as it would last till the death of Nardus over 60 years later.

The 5th life, and in some ways the most remarkable one is the one she is living now.  It is the life she has lived since my father’s death 10 years ago.  On January 1st Sipora Groen turned 95 years old.  This is a woman who reinvented herself upon becoming a widow while simultaneously honoring the memory of the man she still loves today.  She drives, she shops, she host Mahjong games, threw her own 95th birthday party on her own insistence, takes plane and train rides alone, is an active member of her synagogue and even has her own Facebook account. But what is most remarkable is the love of life she displays and the warmth she shows for family and friends, a warmth that can only be credited to a strength of will and character unimaginable to most of us.

In those moments when I would feel unreasonable self-pity I would sometimes ask myself, why can’t I be that guy?  The guy born into money with no worries, or the guy with incredible talent recognized by millions, or that person living the charmed life where very little ever goes wrong.  But not so long ago I realized I am that guy, because I am the son of a 95 year old mother who you just read about and who not only has gone through and achieved everything I wrote about, but has the incredible state of mind to enjoy it and share her joys with those around her.   You want to recognize someone admirable on International Woman’s Day, you need go no further than my mother, Sipora Groen.

 

LIKE THIS POST? SHARE IT ON FACEBOOK OR TWITTER

HOW TO BUY THE BOOK

READ MORE OF WHAT I HAVE TO SAY IN THE COMMON SENSE LIBERAL

JOIN “THE GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL” ON FACEBOOK

GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL IS NOW ON TWITTER @gcimovement

IN CONJUNCTION WITH GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL

 

Advertisements

Open Letter to Vivian M. May, President of NWSA, Regarding its boycott of Israel

boycott-logo_1

Dear Ms. May,

I was recently made aware of the fact that the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) decided to join the ranks of those educational institutions and organizations boycotting the State of Israel.  Although sadly I am never that surprised to hear about the most recent group to follow the ignorant horde, in this particular instance I was somewhat taken aback by your organizations decision, especially since you claim that your members “actively pursue knowledge to promote a just world in which all persons can develop to their fullest potential—one free from ideologies, systems of privilege or structures that oppress or exploit some for the advantage of others.”  Well allow me to disseminate some of that knowledge to you so you might come to realize how ludicrous it is that an institution making that type of claim would boycott the State of Israel.

Israel is, and always has been a leader in Women’s Rights.  In Israel’s Declaration of Independence it is stated that all residents are afforded “equality of social and political rights irrespective of religion, race, or gender.”  Despite the reaction those words might invoke from someone choosing to boycott Israel for what they claim are actions to the contrary, Israel has proven over the years to be true to this claim. Israeli women enter the army at 18, women are free to dress as they like, they are free to marry or not marry, they are provided with equality in the work force, they are free to be gay or straight, and they can ascend to the highest ranks in government.  As you sit in judgment here in America, we have a presidential candidate leading the polls who publicly insulted a female contender in a way that offended many women, not just the candidate he insulted.  Although we will likely finally have a female representing one of the 2 major parties in the general election, we are yet to elect a female president.  One of Israel’s greatest Prime Ministers was Golda Meir, and she was already the country’s Head of Government way back in 1969.  Yet your organization, an organization promoting women’s studies chooses to boycott Israel.

All individuals living peacefully in Israel are afforded the same rights. The leader of the BDS movement was afforded those same rights, educated himself in an Israeli university, and subsequently turned around and started a movement that is pulling the wool over the eyes of those who belong to groups such as yours.  All Israel has ever done is try to find a way to live in peace.  Under the constant threat of attack even those with the best of intentions will err, but if one examines the facts openly and honestly they will find that Israel has shown remarkable restraint, remained as ethical as possible, and continued to function as a free and democratic society.   A claim none of their neighbors van legitimately make.

Before I conclude I would like to make mention of a few more Israelis of the feminine persuasion.  Hadar Buchris, a 21 year old Israeli woman, stabbed to death on a bus stop on November 23, 2015. Dalia Lamkus, a 25 year old Israeli woman stabbed to death on a bus stop November 10, 2014.  Karen Mosquera, 22, an Israeli woman intentionally mowed down by a car on a bus stop on October 22, 2014.  And Chaya Zissel Braun, a 3 month old baby girl killed in the same attack.  All of these victims were murdered by Palestinians whose supporters, people like yourselves, claim to be supporting a noble cause.  If your organization considers murder a noble cause I suggest you reevaluate how you advertise yourselves, because what I read made it seem as though you care about the well-being and protection of innocent people, particularly women.

In this political climate it take more strength to support Israel than to oppose Israel.  Maybe your organization has chosen to take the easy way out, a way in which you will receive less opposition and more press.  If that is the case I appeal to your sense of decency and credibility and hope you will reexamine this decision, especially seeing as you are portraying yourselves as promoters of freedom and justice.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

LIKE THIS POST? SHARE IT ON FACEBOOK OR TWITTER

HOW TO BUY THE BOOK

READ MORE OF WHAT I HAVE TO SAY ON OPEDGUY.COM

CLICK TO JOIN “THE GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL” ON FACEBOOK

GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL IS NOW ON TWITTER @gcimovement

IN CONJUNCTION WITH GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL

 


Where’s the Love?

Hamas-Children-600x350The great Golda Meir one said, “Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.” Sadly I believe we are further away from that being a reality today than any other time since that incredibly poignant statement.  As sad as it may be that they hate us even more now than they did then, is the fact that in their actions they appear to love their children even less.

Despite the impression some may have from reading my posts, I am both a hopeless romantic and a softy.  I am not a hardened bitter person.  I not only believe in love, I have always accepted it in my life.  It doesn’t matter what kind of love either, be it in romance or the type you have for good friends and family.  I am a fan of love, think its important that it exists in everyone’s life, and feel it needs to be one of the core values present for any individual and in any family or community.

So last night I had a revelation.  With the exception of one thing, the members of  Hamas and their terrorist buddies never speak of the love for anything. They certainly hate a lot, especially anything Jewish or American, but love is hardly ever mentioned.  The one thing they do proudly and openly love, is, of all things, death.

As so much of the world chooses to blame Israel for the plight of these poor children in Gaza, even with the tragedy of those killed in this recent war, the larger tragedy is the life being given to these children by those who should love them.  I am by no means presuming to say that Palestinian mothers don’t love their children, but in allowing Hamas to rule and to educate their children on the path their life should follow, they are not manifesting their love correctly. They are giving their children over to a regime that proudly states, “We love Death for Allah like Israelis love life.”

There’s a genocide going on in Gaza alright, but it’s being committed from within and by the same people using the term to generate hate against Israel and the Jews.

Golda Meir’s words were wonderful, wise and correct.  Even with that said, it would be a good start if they loved their children more than death. They need to work on that before they work on not hating us.  Until that happens there won’t be much improvement for anyone’s situation, either in Israel or in Gaza.

HOW TO BUY THE BOOK

CLICK TO JOIN “THE GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL” ON FACEBOOK

Follow Holland’s Heroes on Twitter @hollandsheroes


And the DOPA goes to…

dove of peaceStarting today Holland’s Heroes is rolling out a new feature.  It is called the Dove of Peace Award (DOPA).  The DOPA will be presented to friends of Israel and the Jewish people who display exceptionally strong and vocal support when it is needed most.  The people I speak of are people who have a clear understanding of  the damage and carnage being caused by, and as a result of the actions of Hamas and terrorists organizations like it, as well as a clarity about Israel’s true motivation, PEACE.  Normally there will be one at a time with an unspecified degree of frequency, but since there were 4 people I wanted to start with today, I am starting with a countdown of my assessment of the 4 most deserving of this weeks DOPA’s.

NUMBER 4:

BOB SCHIEFFER

Bob Schieffer 715In an atypical fashion for a journalist of his tenure, Bob Schieffer gave his very strong opinion of the situation in Israel and Gaza, and in doing so quoted the late great Prime Minister of Israel Golda Meir.  Schieffer said the following:

In the Middle East, the Palestinian people find themselves in the grip of a terrorist group that has embarked on a strategy to get its own children killed in order to build sympathy for its cause, a strategy that might actually be working, at least in some quarters. Last week, I found a quote of many years ago by Golda Meir, one of Israel’s early leaders, which might have been said yesterday. “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children, she said, “but we can never forgive them for forcing us to kill their children.”

FOR THESE COMMENTS BOB SCHIEFFER GETS A HOLLAND’S HEROES THANK YOU AND A DOPA!!

NUMBER 3:

SENATOR TED CRUZ

ted-cruz-has-just-wrapped-up-his-epic-21-hour-defund-obamacare-talk-a-thonLet me start with an overdue apology.  I once called Senator Cruz a sideshow act. Now I call him Senator Cruz and do so respectfully.  He has shown himself to be a consistently staunch supporter of Israel, has given one of the most impassioned speeches on the Senate floor  supporting Israel in the past few weeks, and has shown his sincerity even further by going across party lines and working with Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of NY in pushing for a resolution condemning Hamas.  Senator Cruz said the following:

“Hamas is undoubtedly guilty of violating international humanitarian law through its deliberate, repeated, and consistent use of civilians as human shields. “The United States of America, along with the entire international community must expose and denounce Hamas’ barbaric tactics and unequivocally support Israel’s right to self-defense.”

FOR HIS CONTINUING EFFORTS TED CRUZ GETS A HOLLAND’S HEROES THANK YOU AND A DOPA!!

 

NUMBER 2:

HOWARD STERN

866px-Howard_SternWhen I heard Howard Stern’s recent assessment of the situation in Israel and Gaza, I almost stopped writing in Holland’s Heroes.  There was nothing to add. He nailed it.  It is one of the best 5 minutes you will ever spend. CLICK HERE TO HEAR HIS SPEECH. Howard leaves no doubt as to what he thinks in this humorous, intelligent, and candid accounting of what is really happening in the Middle East.  Just be careful.  If you don’t like bad language you better find the edited version.  But let’s face it, some people deserve a Go F&*(& Yourself.

He said the following:

“Israel’s at no fault,” he said. “Jews get enough s**t all over the world … Jews are the indigenous people of that area. The Arabs don’t even want those Palestinians .. nobody wants them.  If you’re anti-Israel you’re anti-America. [It’s] the only democracy over there, the only friend we have .. who’s willing to fight and stand up for what’s right.”

FOR HIS STRONG SUPPORT OF ISRAEL HOWARD STERN GETS A HOLLAND’S HEROES THANK YOU AND A DOPA

NUMBER 1:

JON VOIGHT

Jon-Voight1I have to admit, I loved Howard Stern’s 5 minute speech so much, I could listen to it 10 times a day.  So then why does Jon Voight get number 1? Because in his support and defense of Israel one forgets Jon Voight isn’t Jewish.  When he gets going he sounds as passionate as someone who was born and raised Jewish and conscience of Israel and the Jewish world.  And he not only shows his support, he makes it an obvious priority in a way that shows it is not only important, it is personal.  His passion is so strong he even goes after the administration.

Jon Voight said the following:

Instead of telling Hamas to stop sending rockets into Israel aimed at its civilian population, [Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry] say Israel has to stop killing civilians. What a travesty of justice! Every patriotic America- Jew and non-Jew alike- must show their outrage and that we will not tolerate propaganda and lies about Israel being the aggressors and suppressors of the Palestinians.”

FOR HIS STRONG SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL AND THE JEWISH PEOPLE JON VOIGHT GET’S A HOLLAND’S HEROES THANK YOU AND A DOPA.

 

dove of peaceIf you have anyone you want to nominate for future DOPAs please feel free to leave a comment on this page.

 

CLICK TO JOIN “THE GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL” ON FACEBOOK

Follow Holland’s Heroes on Twitter @hollandsheroes


Back when I was a Moderate…2 weeks ago

111Two weeks ago I would have been considered a moderate regarding the situation with Israel and the Palestinians.   I even held hope that the Palestinian Authority would do the right thing in response to what then was the kidnapping of the 3 Israeli teens.  However, like anyone else in life I have a breaking point. Mine was the moment it was clear that these 3 boys had not only been kidnapped, but murdered as well.  Having reached that breaking point I have come to following conclusions. Any person who does not believe Israel is in its rights to use any manner of force necessary, be it in Gaza, Judea or Samaria (aka ‘The West Bank’) falls into one of the following categories:

Non Jew: Ignorant; Gullible; Anti-Semitic

Jew: Ignorant; Naïve; Flat-out stupid; Self-hating

As a Jew, two weeks ago I fell into the naïve category.  That is a category with many different levels.  My naiveté was rooted in the belief and hope that a peaceful solution was possible.  I was a moderate.  The 3 murdered Israeli teens are 3 among thousands killed by terrorists, but somehow it was their murder that destroyed my moderate status as well.  Yes I questioned my moderation even then, but I was always open to the idea that there were enough people in power on their side who wanted peace more than they wanted the destruction of Israel to create an atmosphere of coexistence.   Sadly that is not the case.  As Golda Meir once said so eloquently, “Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.”  It is with genuine pain that I say that day is further away from us than ever before.

First to the Non-Jewish people I make mention of, I say this.  I respect anyone whose genuine desire is a world of peace.  Even if you are ignorant to the truth or gullible as to the intentions of Israel’s Arab enemies, you may desperately cling to the hope that peace can break out.  I admire your motivation and appreciate your decency.  However, if you really take time to look at the situation you will come to the same tragic conclusion.  They do not want peace.  They want dead Jews.  If you can show me any concrete evidence to prove otherwise I would be happy to see it, but I truly do not believe that evidence exists.

If you are anti-Semitic I have nothing to say to you.  You live with hate in your heart and to make matters even worse, that hate is directed towards me and my family.  You therefore are nothing to me other than disgusting and potentially dangerous.

To the Jews in these categories I say this.  Please learn from the past.  The Nazis set out to kill every last Jew.  Not merely the Jew who opposed them, but even the Jew whose fear motivated them to work for them in concert in the hope that they would be spared.  They were all targets.  As we all are today.  The naïve amongst you who believe in a peaceful solution, are making the mistake I so genuinely understand.  You are applying rational thinking to irrational minds.  These are people who are taught that the greatest honor they can achieve in life is through death.  Not merely death, but death through murder and destruction.  I am sure those of you who are applying your rational standards do not for one second relate to that way of thinking, but if you analyze it honestly and without personal prejudice you may see the sad truth.

To the self-hating Jew, the one who chooses to be extra vocal about criticism of Jews when they do things wrong but are only half as vocal, at best, when Jews are attacked and murdered, I say this.  It is not just your fellow Jew you will bring suffering to, but to yourself as well.  You are a pawn on a chessboard of evil, and those who play chess know that the pawns are the most expendable.  My father, Rabbi Nardus Groen of Blessed Memory once wrote when referring back to his account of the Holocaust,  “We may in the course of it meet people who, for whatever it’s worth,may be portrayed as heroes, while others are cowards, pacifists, or activists.They are all the products of mankind. For them, there will always be a place under the sun (with the exception of the traitor).”   It is not my place to determine who are the cowards and pacifists and who are the traitors.  God will know what is in your heart and I trust will judge you accordingly.

One may make the argument that every day a moderate turns radical Hamas has gained another victory.  That may be true.  But it is safer to be a realistic radical than a delusional moderate.  Unfortunately I now believe those are the only two choices.