A dream come true
(Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from a speech given by Vera Schwartz, a Hungarian-born Jew and Holocaust survivor, who became a b’nai mitzvah with three other adults on Oct. 12 at Temple Shalom, Wheeling, W.Va. She relates her b’nai mitzvah experience to life as a Jew during the World War II.)
While preparing for this moment, I felt many emotions. No one can know what it means to me, not only to become a bas mitzvah at my age, but to be standing in front of this congregation as a proud Jew.
Few people in this country can understand the overwhelming feeling I have that I don’t have to be afraid of who I am. It’s almost too hard for me to believe that I feel free as a Jew, free to be a Jew. I don’t have to hide my identity and be made to feel ashamed of it. I have nothing to fear in America. I don’t have to be afraid to go to bed at night, worrying that there will be a knock on the door and I will be dragged away.
So this day is more special to me than you can imagine. It’s like a dream, a dream come true.