A mezzuza for Michael

July 10, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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In January, the tiny township of Beulah in western Victoria, 300 kms from Melbourne made headline news when newly-arrived residents flew a Nazi flag in their garden opposite a home where a Holocaust survivor was living.

“Michael” affixes his mezzuza  Facebook: RARA

The flag was removed with help of the town’s police and the newcomers left town.

RARA made contact with Michael and sent him matzot and wine for Pesach.

With a population of just 329 people, there is not a lot going on there.

This week, rabbis from Chabad of RARA [Rural and Regional Australia] visited Michael (not his real name) at his home in Beaulah (pop. 329) where he lives alone with a cat to keep him company.

RARA reports: “Michael told us about his arrival to Australia, when he was just nine years old, escaping war-torn Europe.

He came alone, his family murdered in the concentration camps. For many years, he took up odd jobs, performing much difficult manual labour, while living in Melbourne.

Tefillin for “Michael”  Facebook: RARA

Later in life, he wanted to move to a more quiet part of the country, settling in Beulah.

We first visited Michael at night, and he was very grateful for the visit, sharing with us his entire life story. We hung a Mezzuza on his front door, which he very much welcomed, as he had recently been the victim of a number of robberies.

The next day, we returned, as Michael had wanted to lay tefillin. Having only put on tefillin few times before in his life, we helped him say the words and wrapped the tefillin directly over the numbers that had been stamped into his arm so many years prior by the Nazis.”

This had been RARA’s first personal visit to Michael but they assured him it would not be their last.

The Nazi flag in Beaulah in January  Image: supplied

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