Life in a Jar

An article in the Baltimore, Maryland Sunpapers told of a story I had never heard of before. It is about a four teenagers in Uniontown, Kansas who took on a project for a school subject. The teacher Norm Conard encouraged them to engage in finding out information on the topic. The story later on became a documentary and a performance by the girls on the life of Irena Sendler. Irena had helped to save twenty five hundred Jewish

Children during the Holocaust. They all lived in Poland and Irena, a non Jewish social worker took it upon herself to transport these children from their Jewish homes and away from their parents into the safe keeping of others.

They were given Christian names and papers and some of the churches took them in as orphans and people took them in as foster children. Irena with a group of about twenty or so associates were able to save these children because she encouraged their parents to let them go with her unto safety. She falsified papers for them and they were safe at last from the German rounding them up for extermination along with their Jewish parents.

She did this at a great chance of being caught herself, which she was later on and imprisoned and tortured. Many are alive today and of course, credit Irena and the others in her group for their being on this earth today.

Norm and his four students researched all the information they could find on Irena and the school motto of Uniontown High School was –he who changes one person changes the entire world. They proved this motto by informing the world of Irena who was mainly known in Poland for her life saving events.

Irena Sendler knew that no day could be lost. She had to help the Jewish children to live on even though their parents may perish in the German hands. She did not think of herself or her safety and she and the others in her group set themselves up to take the children no matter what would happen to their own personal life. She was nominated in 2007 for a Nobel peace prize and did not win it but surely the nomination itself was a tribute to a woman of deep valor... These four young teenagers chose to investigate and educate the public on the virtues and story of Irena Sendler.They knew even in their young lives that they could change one person and the entire world by telling this true and terrific story.

One woman and her associates changed the course of the terrible times way back in the 1940’s when the Germans invaded Poland and rounded up the Jewish people to be taken to the concentration camps. Irena stepped forward and her presence made a difference that cannot be measured in any way. She was a savior and an emancipator in those horrific years. Not too many people heard about her untiring work here in the USA until a few years ago when these teenagers took on the pursuit of finding all about her and her good deeds. You can look up her name on the internet and see all the details how she saved them and put their real names on a piece of paper and buried the jars until the war was over and the jars were found and the real names were exposed and these people knew who they really were.

The lives she saved she gave meaning to and the lives of the heirs of these could have been lost souls, demand that Irena’s own life be measured in her righteousness and morality. She did not stop to think of herself. She thought only of the children who would be gone if she did not step in and change the situation. She worked with time not on her side or on the side of the small children. She encouraged the parents to part with their child in order to save him or her. It was a hard task to ask a mother or father to let the child go to a safer and strange environment. They knew in their hearts they would never see the boy or girl ever again. They had to sacrifice their own parenting to save the child. That they did.

When the Kansas teenagers brought this story to the public, they were being as righteous as Irena. They showed the current world how one woman over fifty years ago brought light into a dark and gloomy world. Our lives today are enriched by noble spirits such as Irena Sendler.Her actions saved a generation of young people and they went on to accomplish many wonderful years and offspring. The ones she saved were as if she had saved a whole nation. These Christian high school students, like Irena who was Christian saved these Jewish children who would grow up, be educated, prosper and have their own children all due to Irena’s courage and self sacrifice.

Her spirit and determination overcame the horrific crimes committed. She passed away recently but what she accomplished is no ordinary feat.

Many of us could learn a marvelous lesson from her courage. To help someone and to save their life is a "mitzvah- a blessing."

To equate dancing with being a mitzvah is kind of silly but if you look at it in its true form you could equate it somewhat.

To encourage people and especially seniors to try dancing even if only for one evening or one Sunday tea dance or even to dance at a wedding is to spread joy and peace. I have always felt peaceful when I danced and when I was in a dance atmosphere. Whenever I walk into a dance studio, I feel separated from the regular and daily world and any worries or sadness I may be experiencing.

The dance studio is different because we come there to either learn or to dance and to be happy. We come to express our self and to be informed how to dance because we want to dance. It does not matter how old we are, we can go and dance and accomplish .Our friends may think us silly to take up a new sport or hobby but they are misinformed.

To succeed at any age is to be a great fait accompli and we will be richer for this deed.

We may not be saving souls as Irena Sendler did way back during the Holocaust but we can be saving someone’s attitude towards old age. When I was thirteen, I thought Mom was old because she was going to turn forty the next day. I thought Mom would change and not be the sweet and dear soul she was because in my childish mind, forty was old.

How wrong I was and Mom was the same and darling person she had been the day before when she was thirty-nine. So too, we can be jubilant because we are learning to dance, going to a dance or just happy we can still absorb new information into our aged brains.

Studies have shown that to learn is to keep the brain growing and bright and surely doing ballroom dance where your brain plays a great part in your attitude and your accomplishments, and then we have accomplished this feat with our feet and arms too.

To encourage anyone to go and ballroom dance is easier now because of shows like Dancing With The Stars, however they in the content are not accurate because ordinary people do not take dance lessons for five hours a day, six days a week. That is impossible and only on a reality show like DWTS is that promoted.

Learn because you yearn for this hobby and have fun and happiness in doing it. Feel good about yourself and to anyone you are inspiring to learn to dance.

We may not be Irena Sendlers but still we have saved someone from perhaps a boring life, a boring moment and encouraged someone, anyone, even a stranger to fill their life with music, with social contacts and most of all with joy.

We too can experience the satisfaction of helping people in today’s society and sharing their moments of happiness can bring delight to us because we too are seniors and seeing seniors being satisfied, secure, succeeding and sparkling is surely a super moment.

Keep on Dancing and now adding to this line encourage someone else to dance too.

Keep on Dancing.

Elita Sohmer Clayman

December 2009

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Published by René Zgraggen
Montgomery, AL