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Until We Meet Again: A Story of Love and Survival in the Holocaust
by Michael Korenbilt and Kathleen Janger

p.33 "What do you mean, in it?" asked Manya. "A haystack is just a haystack. There's no 'in;' there's just hay."

p.64 Malka: So last night he didn't come because he was afraid of being caught?
     Avrum: No. Josef didn't come because he got drunk, fell asleep in the barn, and didn't wake up until noon today."

p.82 "Ghetto" is an Italian word, first used in the Middle Ages to refer to a special section of towns in Italy where Jews were confined. Jews generally exercised control over their own affairs, but outside they were severely restricted. Ghettos were abolished in Western Europe by the nineteenth century, but were reintroduced by the Nazis in the countries they occupied. Concentrating the Jews into small confined spaces allowed their captors to control virtually every aspect of their physical existence, from food rationing to work assignments to the tedious counts, usually twice per day, of those inside.

p.116 "A man consists of three elements: a body, a soul, and a passport."
     --An old Russian saying

p.134 "We must prepare you for your trip. From now on you are Antonio Tomitzki, not Meyer Korenbilt. You must think 'Antonio' at all times. You must think and act like a Pole. You are no longer a Jew."

p.162 "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."
     --Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 of the Bible

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God Against the Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism
by Jonathan Kirsch

p.1 “Religious intolerance was inevitably born with the belief in one God.”
     --Sigmund Freud,
     Moses and Monotheism

p.2 But, fatefully, monotheism turned out to inspire a ferocity and even a fanaticism that are mostly absent from polytheism. At the heart of polytheism is an open-minded and easygoing approach to religious belief and practice, a willingness to entertain the idea that there are many gods and many ways to worship them. At the heart of monotheism, by contrast, is the sure conviction that only a single god exists, a tendency to regard one’s own rituals and practices as the only way to worship the one true god. The conflict between these two fundamental values is what I call the war of God against the gods--it is a war t hat has been fought with heart-shaking cruelty over the last thirty centuries, and it is a war that is still being fought today.

p.3 But the roots of religious terrorism are not found originally or exclusively in Islamic tradition. Quite the contrary, it begins in the pages of the Bible, and the very first examples of holy war and martyrdom are found in Jewish and Christian history. The opening skirmishes in the war of God against the gods took place in distant biblical antiquity, when Yahweh is shown to decree a holy war against anyone who refuses to acknowledge him as the one and only god worthy of worship. Holy war passes from biblical myth into recorded history during the wars of national liberation fought by the Maccabees against the pagan king of Syria and later by the Zealots against the pagan emperor of Rome, which provide us with the first accounts of men and women who are willing to martyr themselves in the name of God. The banner is taken up by the early Christians in the first century of the Common Era, when they bring the “good news” of Jesus Christ to imperial Rome, where the decisive battle in the war between monotheism and polytheism is fought.
10-11 Monotheism, for example, cruelly punishes the sin of “heresy,” but polytheism does not recognize it as a sin at all. Significantly, “heresy” is derived from the Greek word for “choice,” and the fundamental theology of polytheism honors the worshipper’s freedom to choose among the many gods and goddesses who are believed to exist. Monotheism, by contrast, regards freedom of choice as nothing more than an opportunity for error, and the fundamental theology of monotheism as we find it in the Bible threatens divine punishment for any worshipper who makes the wrong choice. Against the open-mindedness of the pagan Symmachus, who allows that there are many roads to enlightenment and salvation, Bishop Fulgentius (468-533) insists that only a single narrow path leads to God.
     “Of this you can be certain and convinced beyond all doubt,” declares Fulgentius, “not only all pagans, but also all Jews, all heretics and schismatics will go into the everlasting fire which has been prepared for the Devil and his angels.”
     Here is the flash point of the war of God against the gods. The deity who is worshipped in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is described in the Bible as a “jealous” and “wrathful” god, and he is believed to regard the worship of any god other than himself as an “abomination.” The deities who populate the crowded pantheon of classical paganism, by contrast, were believed to be capable of thoroughly human emotions, including envy and anger, but they were never shown to deny one another’s existence or demand the death of someone who worshipped a different god or goddess.
     “The pagan gods, even the gods of mysteries are not jealous of one another,” explains historian and anthropologist Walter Burkert. “ ‘Envy stands outside the divine chorus,’ as the famous saying of Plato’s puts it.”

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Farewell to Manzanar
by Jeanne Watatsuki Houston and James D. Houston

p.7-8 They got him two weeks later, when we were staying overnight at Woody’s place, on Terminal Island. Five hundred Japanese families lived there then, and FBI deputies had been questioning everyone, ransacking houses for anything that could conceivably be used for signaling planes or ships or t hat indicated loyalty to the Emperor. Most of the homes had radios with a short-wave band and a high aerial on the roof so that wives could make contact with the fishing boats during those long cruises. To the FBI every radio owner was a potential saboteur. The conspirators were often deputies sworn in hastily during the turbulent days right after Pearl Harbor, and these men seemed to be acting out the general panic, seeing sinister possibilities the most ordinary household items: flashlights, kitchen knives, cameras, lanterns, toy swords.
   If Papa were trying to avoid arrest, he wouldn’t have gone near that island. But I think he knew it was futile to hide out or resist. The next morning two FBI men in fedora hats and trench coats--like out of a thirties movie--knocked on Woody’s door and when they left, Papa was between them. He didn’t struggle. There was no point to it. He had become a man without a country. The land of his birth was at war with America; yet after thirty-five years here he was still prevented by law from becoming an American citizen. He was suddenly a man with no rights who looked exactly like the enemy.

p.58-59 That's how I remember him before he disappeared. He was not a great man. He wasn’t even a very successful man. He was a poser, a braggart, and a tyrant. But he had held onto his self-respect, he had dreamed grand dreams, and he could work well at any task he turned to: he could raise vegetables, sail a boat, plead a case in small claims court, sing Japanese poems, make false teeth, carve a pig.

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Finding Fish
by Antwone Fisher

p.159 It seemed the world should have stopped or paused or acknowledged in a collective way that a living person was gone. But the world didn't stop. Life just went on.

p.300 Later, when I went to work in the civilian world, I found occasion to quote Chief Lott to others, too, especially when they wanted to give me an ass-chewing. I'd tell them, "That's not the way to do it. I've been chewed out by the best. You got to lean. Talk to me. Lean in and speak directly to me."


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Heather's Library

March 2010

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