The Chisinau Experience

The evening before I started the seminar – we took time to prepare our hearts and spirits. No, we are not sleeping here. This is a sweet and sincere group of young men and women, with a right spirit and open hearts.

We spent 4 or 5 hours studying the Word together and worshiping. What a refreshing experience!

Marina came to Chisinau from Germany about ten years ago. God sent her to care for the “lost children of Moldova.” Apparently, Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe. Many children are abandoned here by their parents, who leave the country in search of jobs elsewhere. Sadly, at times they choose to establish brand new families and do not even return for the children they left there.

Marina traveled to various villages in her van with games for the children, and brought them some hope and joy.

The responses to the forgiveness seminar were heartwarming. Some of the people in attendance were so broken. The range of what they can do within the law is limited, even when extreme abuse is involved. At times forgiveness is the only way out of the horrors, and they truly did embrace it gladly and wholeheartedly. I am waiting to hear some reports, and will gladly share them with you later on.

 

Back from Chisinau

Visiting Chisinau stirred within me emotions I wasn’t quite expecting. I was so deeply touched. Almost everything around seemed to be symbolic.

The visit opened up a quest in me to try and find some more information about my mother’s side of the family. It is annoying to realize just how little we know about my grandmother. So much has been lost over the years, so many stories that no one took the time to sit and write down and are now lost forever. Something to think about for the future.

So on the first day in Chisinau I visited the Jewish cemetery, hoping to see some commemoration of the atrocities done there against the Jews in 1903. That cemetery has been totally demolished and is now covered with beautiful spring flowers.

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The only mention is this one solitary monument, commemorating the Chisinau pogrom of 1903 in which 49 Jews were murdered. My great-grandfather was among them.

Prior to the war, the Jewish population in Chisinau was apparently quite big and thriving. It was, after all, the capital of what was then known as Basarabia, or today, Moldova.

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The Jewish present cemetery is in such a sad state of neglect and disarray. Apparently, the authorities do not take any responsibility for maintaining it. The families of those who are buried are supposed to do it. But most of them left, thank God, and now live in Israel. So the tombstones mostly lie desecrate and broken.

In the cemetery stands this beautiful synagogue, neglected, broken, filthy. I assume the Rabbi stood on this very platform while preaching.

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I came to Chisinau to teach about forgiveness; the neglect and desolation I saw gave new meaning for my personal need to forgive, not only for the past, but also the present.

Off to Chisinau

April 1903. Kishinov (Chisinau), back than – a part of Romania. The “Christians” in the city ad just finished their Russian Easter masses in the local churches, flooded the streets, and slaughtered the Jews. 700 Jewish homes were robbed, nearly 600 Jews wounded, 49 slaughtered. Babies were torn to pieces by a blood thirsty and enraged throng.

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My grandmother’s family (here with me as a baby) was among them. Her father was murdered. She was only 3 years old.

The local police did not intervene during the first three days. But for the international media and especially for the young Zionist movement, this pogrom was a turning point in planning a solution for the Jews – establishing a land of their own.

Nearly two years ago I flew to Germany, for the first time in my life, and developed the strangest skin reaction, like a burn all over my body. It was painful and took weeks to recover. It also took me a while to realize this is a physical expression of an emotional state. That it was God’s way to show me how much I hold against the Germans, because of the persecution they inflicted on my family from my father’s side.

Well, this coming Tuesday I will be leaving for Kishinov (now the capital of Moldova). I am invited to train a team there, and will write about it in my next post. This one is to recruit your prayers, mostly for my health, as my body already starts “talking.” My chest is burning, my throat hurts, but I keep my ears open to God’s soft voice, pointing to places in my soul that still carry this historical wound.