More than a decade ago, Judy Batalion accidentally stumbled upon a Yiddish-language book in the British Library. Published in 1946, the book comprised a collection of memoirs of “ghetto girls,” young Jewish women who revolted against the Nazis in Poland. These women tricked the Gestapo into carrying their luggage filled with contraband, hid revolvers in teddy bears, flung Molotov cocktails, and bombed German supply trains. They flirted with Nazis, bribed them with whiskey and pastry, and shot and killed them. They carried out espionage missions for the Red Army, organized a militant group of anti-Nazi Germans, and were bearers of the truth about what was happening to the Jews. Delving deeply into archives in North America, Poland, and Israel, Batalion uncovered long-overlooked memoirs and testimonies, conducted personal interviews with their families, and wove these narratives together into her recently-released book, “The Light of Days.”
A bat mitzvah celebration becomes more complicated with a mother suffering from anxiety and depression, writes Judy Batalion.
When I first came to London in 2001 and, in my brazen, comfortable-in-my- skin North-American way, wished a fellow performer a “happy Passover” during a workshop, she was shocked and cringed, and later told me to “shh in public.” This year, however, the London Jewish community is gearing up for the Other Seder, a 300-person event that includes puppet shows, Yiddish swing music and a video collaboration with Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning at Temple Emanu-El. Passover is a holiday that aims to celebrate springtime and newness, and what’s fresh in Britain is cultural Judaism.