My Grandpa Morris used to tell us that he was the richest man in the world because of his family. His life was the story of many who survived the wreckage of the Holocaust and moved to America to start a new life in a land free of oppression and full of opportunity. He was a humble man, working tirelessly as a paperhanger to raise four children in a warm and nurturing home. He prioritized his children’s educations, though he himself had little. But most of all, he filled their lives with joy, laughter, and music – as a skilled accordion player. With the help of my grandmother, he brought love and happiness back into his life and shared it with everyone around him.
Grandpa Morris’s early life was ruined by the evil of the Nazi regime – he lost his entire family in the concentration camps, and survived Auschwitz with little more than his mind, his body, and a desire to overcome. And overcome he did. While he is no longer with us, Grandpa Morris leaves his legacy with his four children, eleven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. As a child, I used to play piano for him over the phone every Friday evening before the Sabbath began. At the end of each song, he would praise me like I was the best piano player the world had ever known. No matter how many mistakes I made, he would make me feel like a queen as he cried with joy at the beauty of his “mamaleh”s music. He taught me to take pride in my work, to appreciate the bumps along the way as opportunities for improvement, and to never ever give up.
As the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon approaches, I am excited and eager to run with Team Blue Card. Grandpa Morris, along with so many others who share his story, could not have made it in America without the generous support of support organizations such as Blue Card. The assistance that Blue Card has provided to Jews affected by the Holocaust from its formation in 1934 through the present day has saved so many lives, and helped shape the American Jewish community into the thriving community that it is today. My Grandpa Morris taught me to never give up. Never do things halfway. This was his motto in life, and it carries on through his entire family. So, when I ran my second half marathon this past March, my heart and soul told me that was not enough. Let’s get rid of that “half” and tell the world that I can run a full marathon.
I will run with Team Blue Card to thank them for the invaluable assistance they have provided to survivors from all over Europe. I will run with Team Blue Card to thank my Grandpa Morris for instilling me with a dedication to hard work and perseverance that I apply to all my endeavors. I will run with Team Blue Card to do what I can to support all Holocaust survivors by raising awareness of the cause and funds for its noble mission.
Blue Card wrote -
The Blue Card’s sole mission is to aid needy Holocaust survivors, majority of whom live approximately 200% below federal poverty line, by providing financial support.The Blue Card is unique in that it provides both long-term ongoing support and emergency grants for basic human needs in the most caring way. Help is given in the form of cash grants issued directly to the client or to the provider of vital goods and services. The grants are made for food, medical and home care, dental care, crisis and ongoing psychotherapy, health insurance, prescription drugs, personal emergency response system, housing, transportation, and various one-time emergencies.