Every person has the ability to overcome adversity and injustice and to make a difference in the world, according to a Holocaust survivor who has inspired numerous others to return to Judaism and make the most of their lives.
“You have to see the whole picture, who you are and what life is all about,” said Rebbitzin Esther Jungreis, an author and popular motivational speaker. “You have to see how things impact everything, your marriage, your children, whether you are young or old. It’s very complex. You have one life and you can do many things. If you lose money, you can get it back, but if you lose the days of your life you can never get them back. Your life will be meaningless.
“One day you will wake up and realized you labored in vain.”
Jungreis will offer her take on spirituality on April 18 in Marlboro and May 2 in East Brunswick, in talks sponsored by the Orthodox outreach group Torah Links.
The talks will launch a new Torah Links initiative called Spiritual U.
Rabbi Shlomo Landau of Middlesex Torah Links said the programs would focus on “adding spirituality to one’s life, particularly through Torah study.”
Rabbi Mordechai Eisenberg of Monmouth Torah Links said the initiative provides “a framework for people to not just take one individual course but to accomplish something.”
The six-class courses will cover such areas as medical ethics, Jewish law, and parenting.
Jungreis spoke with NJJN in a phone interview from New York days after returning from her latest European tour.
In New Jersey, she said, “I will speak about what it means to be an individual, what it means to be a nation that has experienced the Holocaust and has come through not limping, but vibrant and strong.”
The Jews’ survival, she said, could be traced to their ancestral faith and strong belief in God. “It’s not a question of being a chosen people, but of chosen beliefs,” said Jungreis, president of Hineni, a movement she founded in 1973 to bring Jews back to their faith.
Jungreis, who was born in Hungary, is the descendant of a rabbinic dynasty. She was imprisoned at Bergen-Belsen, and most of her family was killed during the Holocaust. She is the author of Jewish Soul on Fire, The Committed Life, The Committed Marriage, and Life Is a Test.
She has devoted her life to what she refers to as “the spiritual Holocaust” in the Jewish community, American society, and worldwide. “Everybody is nasty,” she said. “Everybody has an issue; everybody has a sense of entitlement….
“People don’t know how to talk to anybody. Everything is texting and e-mailing, even when they’re out to dinner. The Internet could have been a blessing, but man turned it into an evil. They don’t have enough sechel [wisdom] not to use it to spread hatred and intolerance and sexually adulterous situations.”