Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Simon Stern hung out with his immigration group.

He was Jewish, had emigrated from Europe. He was a successful businessman and could have afforded various abodes in various places. The Lower East Side of Manhattan had many people of his background in the late nineteen forties. He lived there, and never went above fourteenth street. Until.

Until he had a non-logical visitor. He was at his place of business, locked behind two doors, the outside door and an inner door. A man appeared to talk to him who was from Spain in the period when Jews had the choice of converting or being killed by church and state.

The man told him a story from the Spain of that period. From the story, Simon Stern knew that he had to take action to save the Jews of Europe who had been in the death camps. Save them in ways small and big. Food, housing, spiritual healing. This involved going above fourteenth street.

Some might have wondered how the storyteller got to where Simon Stern was, through time and space and two door. Some might have wondered whether the story the man told was true. The narrator of the novel says Simon Stern was smart enough to not wonder about how or about factness. Simon Stern was smart enough to know that the question isn't whether the story is true, but whether it's for you. He knew the story was for him and changed everything about his life.

--The book is Arthur Cohen's novel "In the Days of Simon Stern"