July 4th, 2002

Poland

In five days, I'm going to fly to Poland for an eight-day journey across the land where three of my grandparents were born. I have not been to Poland before, and I'm going with some cousins and other family members, including two of said three grandparents.

In preparation for the trip, I decided to watch some documentary on Poland. I remembered Dotan mentioning a good Hebrew TV documentary called "Po-Lan-Yah" (a Hebrew word-game on one of the variations on the country's name; as three separate words, it roughly means "here lodges God", supposedly signifying a Polish Jewish sentiment (dating to the 18th century or earlier) to the effect that the Jewish life in Poland is so ideal that it seems as if it is where God wanted Jews to await their messiah.

Anyhow, it turns out that my grandfather's nephew is the producer of that documentary, and he offered me his videotapes of the series (about 6 hours total). I've been watching it, episode by episode, this week. Fascinating stuff. I had a rather vague idea of Polish history, and I'm very glad I'm doing this before the trip. I now have a reasonable bird's-eye grasp of the historical and geopolitical changes in Poland's thousand-year history, and can recognize some important names, such as Dabrowski, Matejko, and Chmelnicki (sp?).

This ties in with two inspiring Israelis I've been exposed to recently, both born in Poland: Yoram Bronowski (deceased) and Suzie Russek-Osherov. The Polish descent is an important part in both of their biographies. Both impressed me intellectually and artistically. I hope to write more of both later on.

All that's left is to wonder whether I'll be able to find any moose in Poland, for my collection.
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