Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at
Fri Dec 14 15:38:26 EST 2001

As Shabbat descends upon us here in the US Northeast, I'm sending 
this now instead of on Shabbat.  Not humor, but a beautiful true 
Channuka story.


>Young Private Winneger was with the U.S. Army
>as it marched through Europe at the end of World
>War II. His unit was assigned to a European village
>with the orders to secure the town, search for any
>hiding Nazis and to help the villagers in any way
>they could.
>Winneger was on patrol one night when he saw a
>figure running through a field just outside the village.
>He shouted, "Halt or I'll shoot." The figure ducked
>behind a tree. Winneger waited and eventually the
>figure came out and figuring that Winneger was no
>longer nearby, went to a spot near a large tree and
>started to dig. Winneger waited until the figure had
>finished digging and was once more on the move
>before he stepped out and again shouted, "Halt or
>I'll shoot!" The figure ran.  Winneger decided not to
>shoot but to try to catch the furtive figure. He shortly
>caught up with the figure and tackled it to the ground.
>To his surprise he found he had captured a young
>boy. An ornate menorah had fallen from the boy's
>hands in the scuffle. Winneger picked up the
>menorah. The boy tried to grab it back shouting,
>"Give it to me. It's mine!" Winneger assured the
>boy that he was among friends. Furthermore, he
>himself was Jewish. The boy who had just survived
>several years of the Holocaust and had been in a
>concentration camp was mistrustful of all men in
>uniforms. He had been forced to watch the shooting
>of his father. He had no idea what had become of
>his mother.
>In the weeks that followed, Winneger took the young
>boy, whose name was David, under his wing. As they
>became closer and closer, Winneger's heart went out
>to the boy. He offered David the opportunity to come
>back to New York City with him. David accepted and
>Winneger went through all the necessary paperwork
>and officially adopted David.
>Winneger was active in the New York Jewish community.
>An acquaintance of his, a curator of the Jewish Museum
>in Manhattan, saw the menorah. He told David it was a
>very valuable historic, European Menorah and should be
>shared with the entire Jewish Community. He  offered
>David $50,000 for the menorah.
>But David refused the generous offer saying the menorah
>had been in his family for over 200 years and that no
>amount of money could ever make him sell it.
>When Chanukah came, David and Winneger lit the
>menorah in the window of their home in New York City.
>David went upstairs to his room to study and Winneger
>stayed downstairs in the room with the menorah.
>There was a knock on the door and Winneger went to
>answer. He found a woman with a strong German accent
>who said that she was walking down the street when she
>saw the menorah in the window. She said that she had
>once had one just like it in her family and had never seen
>any other like it.  Could she come and take a closer look?
>Winneger invited her in and said that the menorah
>belonged to his son who could perhaps tell her more
>about it. Winneger went upstairs and called David down
>to talk to the woman and that is how David was reunited
>with his mother.
>This is retelling from memory (so some of the details
>may be wrong) from a true story told by Rabbi Allan C.
>Tuffs to the congregation at Matthew Weil's Bar Mitzvah,
>Temple Shalom, Levittown PA, December 7, 1996.

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