By Yelena Gerovich
New American Acculturation Coordinator
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
-Albert Einstein in a letter to his son Eduard, 1930
June 2017 marks two-hundred years since Karl Drais invented the two-wheeler principle of today’s bicycle. Almost 125 years later, this invention has saved many Jewish lives. Before the war, Gino Bartali had won the 1938 Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia in 1936 and ‘37, making him one of the country’s biggest stars. During World War II, the champion cyclist helped rescue Jews in his native Italy by hiding forged documents and papers in the tubes and seat of his bike. If you want to know more about this story, watch “My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes.” This 2014 documentary film, directed and written by Oren Jacoby, tells the story of the rescue of thousands of Italian Jews during World War II by ordinary and prominent Italians, including Gino Bartali.
May 9 marks the most popular holiday for the people of the former Soviet Union — Victory Day over Nazi Germany. In the former Soviet Union, one could hardly find a family who had not lost one or more of its members during World War II. More than 500,000 Jewish people were fighting against Nazi Germany in the ranks of the Red Army, and more than 200,000 of them lost their lives in the effort. That is why, if asked which event of that generation was the most important, the answer would be Victory Day.
Our Russian–speaking community participates in celebrating Victory Day, Memorial Day and Lag B’Omer in May, Shavuot in June, and Independence Day in July. Thanks to local organizations, rabbis and volunteers, seniors and low income families can obtain free transportation, food and services on these holidays. The New American Acculturation program offers many Jewish educational programs and Shabbat gatherings.
As famous philanthropist Lynn Schusterman said: “A Jewish community that is diverse and openly embraces all who seek to lead actively Jewish lives will be a Jewish community that is stronger and more enduring for generations to come.”
For more information about the New American Acculturation program, including sponsorships of specific programs, please contact Yelena Gerovich at (203) 387-2424 x 321, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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