My grandfather's sister, Chana Wiesenthal Herzog, made this tapestry and sent it to him on the occasion of his marriage in 1917. The exquisite needlework of Chanshe=s 48" by 22" tapestry includes her brother's initials AJW,@ for Jacob Wiesenthal.
Grandpa Jake had emigrated to America in 1909. Chanshe had refused to take the ocean voyage that would have required her to travel on Shabbat. She and her family stayed in Europe, in a Galician shtetl called Jagielnica. Chanshe, her husband Yitzchak, and their children Tuviya, Feiga, Leah, and Rachel perished in the Holocaust. The one photograph that we have of them, with Grandpa's poignant Yiddish inscription that they died for the Holy Name, is a family treasure.
Grandpa gave me Chanshe's tapestry in the 1970s. In 1984, I founded and became President of an international, all-volunteer organization for the benefit of Jews in the Caucasus and Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union. We have been blessed to rescue thousands of Jews from these mostly Muslim republics. As the sign above my desk says, kol yisrael aravim zeh b'zeh --- all Jews are responsible for one another. Chanshe's tapestry, which hangs in my office, inspires me daily --- an insistent reminder that we must do whatever is necessary to ensure the survival of our people.
--Delray Beach, FL