Via Good Deeds Day / Facebook

It's estimated that only a few hundred thousand Holocaust survivors are still living. Sadly, in the coming years that number will eventually make its way to zero.

Nazi concentration caps were liberated 74 years ago, so a twenty year old who made it through the atrocity is now 94. Elihu Kover of Nazi Victim Services for Self-help Community Service spoke of the conditions many of these elderly survivors face as they advance in age at a Senate hearing in 2013.


"Holocaust survivors are growing older and frailer. … She may be coping with the loss of her spouse and have no family to speak of. In addition to the myriad problems associated with so-called 'normal aging,' many survivors have numerous physical and psychological problems directly attributable to their experiences during the Holocaust. … And many of these problems only surface in old age, having been hidden during their working years when the survivors struggled and made a new life for themselves as productive citizens of this country."

This sympathetic view of the tragedy isn't as popular in the Arab world where Holocaust denial is rampant and many cynically accuse the Jewish people of exploiting Western sympathy surrounding the tragedy to establish the State of Israel.

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However, two Arab men in Haifa, Israel made a beautiful show of respect this week to a Holocaust survivor who found their gesture "uplifting."

Simon and Salim Matari, who are brothers, were recently called to the home of Rosa Meir, 95, to fix a leak.

"When we got there, we saw there was a large blast of water and we started fixing it," Simon told the Times of Israel. "At some stage, while working, my brother Salim started to talk to Rosa about her life. She told us she's 95, a Holocaust survivor, and that she has a daughter."

"Her life story touched my heart," Simon continued. "At that moment, I decided I won't take a cent from her."

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After the brothers finished their work, they gave Meir a bill that read: "Holocaust survivor, may you have health until 120, from Matari Simon and Matari Salim," adding that the cost of the service was "0 shekels."

"May you live until 120" is a Jewish blessing that carries the implication that the receiver live a happy and healthy life until the age of 120.

The gesture brought Meir to tears.

"The brothers really surprised me," she said. "It was so moving and uplifting, and I thanked them a lot."

The brothers also told the woman that if she needed anything else they would be by to fix it for free.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

When schools closed early in the spring, the entire country was thrown for a loop. Parents had to figure out what to do with their kids. Teachers had to figure out how to teach students at home. Kids had to figure out how to navigate a totally new routine that was being created and altered in real time.

For many families, it was a big honking mess—one that many really don't want to repeat in the fall.

But at the same time, the U.S. hasn't gotten a handle on the coronavirus pandemic. As states have begun reopening—several of them too early, according to public health officials—COVID-19 cases have risen to the point where we now have more cases per day than we did during the height of the outbreak in the spring. And yet President Trump is making a huge push to get schools to reopen fully in the fall, even threatening to possibly remove funding if they don't.

It's worth pointing out that Denmark and Norway had 10 and 11 new cases yesterday. Sweden and Germany had around 300 each. The U.S. had 55,000. (And no, that's not because we're testing thousands of times more people than those countries are.)

The president of the country's largest teacher's union had something to say about Trump's push to reopen schools. Lily Eskelsen Garcia says that schools do need to reopen, but they need to be able to reopen safely—with measures that will help keep both students and teachers from spreading the virus and making the pandemic worse. (Trump has also criticized the CDCs "very tough & expensive guidelines" for reopening schools.)

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