In many parts of the world books may be going out of style,
but in Jerusalem book launches happen all the time.
People come to buy the book,
hear the author talk about it and stand in line to have it autographed.
One such event–of exceptional proportions–took place this week,
when former Chief Rabbi Yisroel Meir Lau came to Jerusalem
to introduce the English translation of his autobiography,
entitled, “Out of the Depths.”
A long line formed as people waited for an hour to have
Rabbi Lau sign their book before the 8:00pm lecture was to begin.
Rabbi Lau spoke in English in the main sanctuary of The Great Synagogue,
where he pointed to the spot where in 1993 he was sworn in as chief rabbi.
He told the audience of his childhood during World War II:
how as a small five-year old, he lost family and home.
A thousand people listened as he told of the trauma of his mother
pushing him away from her, off the train and to certain death,
towards his older brother and a chance to live.
From the depths of the Buchenwald concentration camp,
he arrived in Eretz Yisroel after the war, an eight-year old with no education,
but was able to continue the long line of his family’s rabbinic dynasty.
As Rabbi Lau spoke I was thinking of a different world.
We were travelling in and out of Jerusalem a few times this week
and each time we had to wait as cars were searched.
Sometimes the person at the front of the line had his papers examined.
Today an Arab woman was found trying to get in a 30 cm knife,
yesterday 19 pipe bombs were found before they could be used.
Dozens of medical cases came into Israel this week and
88,000 flowers from Gaza were exported through Israel.
Leaving the building,
if you look to the right you will see this sign.
The survivors of the Holocaust lived through the worst of times,
from less than nothing, they went on to build new lives and families.
The world has given millions and millions of dollars to the PA,
what have they built?
More photos from the book signing: