Chazaq collaborated with the Young Israel of Queens Valley on Yom HaShoah for an evening of reflection, where a standing room only crowd gathered for a special viewing of Hidden Face, a documentary about the life of Rabbi Yekusiel Halberstam, the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe, ztk”l, whose wife and 11 children were murdered during the darkest days. Rabbi Shmuel Marcus, Rabbi of The Young Israel of Queens Valley, gave background on the Admor’s struggle and ability to invigorate others throughout his ordeal. Rabbi Marcus pointed out that the Admor established several institutions, most notably the Laniado Hospital in Netanya, Israel, also known as the Sanz Medical Center. This medical facility is a voluntary, non-profit operation in Kiryat Sanz, serving a regional population of over 450,000 throughout Netanya and the Sharon plain.
Yom HaShoah will forever be a day of reflection for the six million Jewish souls that perished during the Holocaust. The countless survivors helped assemble the world Jewry of today. Each of these precious survivors holds a unique tale of courage and spiritual resuscitation. Many opted to share their story for future generations to hold as a remembrance of the faith in the face of adversity and devastation, and about the rebuilding afterwards. The film mentioned a remarkable query. On one of the Admor’s most difficult days in the camps, he was asked whether he would still recite the brachah thanking Hashem for choosing the Jews among all the nations. The Rav replied, “Maybe until now I didn’t say it with enough intention; but now, when I say, ‘You chose us among all nations,’ I will say it more intently and joyfully than ever before, because I am lucky to be a Jew, because if I were not ‘chosen from among all nations,’ I would be like that Nazi.”
In its optimistic and sometimes humorous manner, the film depicts how the Rav went on to rebuild his chasidic community, remarry, and raise an illustrious family. In a negotiation with Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, the Admor noted, “The minimum I see in this country, it will be a place where I can go out on a Shabbos morning wearing my shtreimel and my chasidish coat, my white socks, and a talis on my shoulders, and no one will ever do me any harm,” and the maximum? “I see you in a shtreimel.” It should be noted that the Klausenberger Rebbe was the first Admor to bring his following to Eretz Yisrael.
Yaniv Meirov, co-founder and CEO of Chazaq, extended special appreciation to the Hoffman family for giving the Queens community at large the opportunity to experience this groundbreaking endeavor. Mrs. Helen Hoffman, who was born in the DP camp portrayed in the film, explained how her family was personally affected by the work of the Klausenberger Rebbe.
By Shabsie Saphirstein