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
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
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
You can email me at