Jews from across the Globe
Humans of Judaism
Kibbutzniks who fled Hitler welcome their 100th grandchild- ‘This is our answer to Hitler,’ says Michael Mittwoch, 92; both he and wife Marion, 90, left Germany after the rise of the Nazis, were among founders of Kibbutz Lavi in northern Israel. The Mittwochs, Michael, 92, and Marion, 90, two of the founders of the kibbutz, celebrated the birth of a new great-grandchild – their 100th. “It’s not just the number,” added great-grandmother Marion. “All the children and grandchildren live in Israel and everyone wants to contribute to the country. We feel we have established a really big tribe.” “This is the essence of Zionism,” concluded their son, Eli. “Mom and Dad underwent severe hardships early on in their lives. They established a kibbutz and today we are all proud of their 100th great-grandchild.” Source: Ynetnews
With over 10 million followers on social media, Humans of New York has inspired Humans spinoffs everywhere from Hong Kong to Cleveland.
One of my favorites is Humans of Judaism.
Nikki Schreiber started Humans of Judaism in 2014. Within the first six months she had over 10,000 followers from around the world on both Instagram and Facebook. I chatted with Nikki earlier this week.
What inspired you to start Humans of Judaism?
Humans of New York was at the height of its popularity and I was somewhat of a fan, especially when they featured members of the Jewish community. However, what I did not like were the negative comments the positive photos generated. Photos from our community were met with gross anti-Semitism and just pure hatefulness.
So I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a page devoted to the Jewish community directly without the side order of negativity…and voilà! Just like that, Humans of Judaism was born and the first story was posted.
“Growing up in Brooklyn, it was always my Zaidi David who came to pick me up from school. We would walk together back to the apartment, where my Babi Margit (or Manci, as her friends would call her) would be waiting for me with the best Hungarian dishes (because she was the best cook and baker that ever lived)! After my homework was done, she would sit down with me and show me how she would mend my grandfather’s clothes. We started sewing clothes for my dolls together, while my Zaidi quizzed me on Torah that I was learning in school. He was so proud when I answered correctly. My Grandparents, both living in Hungary, were taken from their homes along with their families by the Hungarian Fascists & Nazis in 1944. They survived the war, met and married in 1946 while looking for any family that had survived as well. Last week marked the 1 year anniversary for MARGIT DAVID™, a made to order & custom dress company that is alive and growing! It was clear to me that I must dedicate my company to two people who have shown me what real accomplishments are. They taught me that survival comes from the inside and that having faith in Hashem will take you anywhere. I bet my Babi never thought that those doll clothes we made together would potentially one day end up on a runway. I thank them for showing me what real survival is and I hope they are looking down on me and are proud to have their name on something that means so much to me.” Written By: Jacqueline Esther Mazor, CEO/ Head Designer at MARGIT DAVID
What was your initial plan, and how has it evolved?
Initially I followed the Humans of New York formula, posting an original photo with a heartfelt caption/quote from the person in the photograph. However, I am not a street photographer and had to get creative with how I planned to capture/reach the global community from my little iPad in NYC. While I was trying to sort out my page style, about three weeks into this new project the news of the three kidnapped boys in Israel hit the media. I would say that marks the moment that Humans of Judaism began to take off. I started to share the stories of who the boys were and who their families are, and all of a sudden, the page following began to snowball. It was as if the followers were looking for exactly what I was trying to put out there. While the search for the boys continued and the Jewish community was uniting, the page really began to take shape. Stories ranged from celebrities supporting Israel (both Jewish and non) to people from all over the world sending in pictures of them waving their Israeli flag to show support from their corner of the world. After the war in Israel settled down, the page momentum only ramped up. It was clear I wasn’t the only person who liked this positive community model. I continued posting stories from current events, Jews in the news, people I knew personally whose stories I wanted to tell, and so on.
“I had heard the stories of how cold Auschwitz was. I had heard the stories of how the working conditions coped with the treatment from Nazis and had resulted in death as the only outcomes for the Jewish people. While I visited Auschwitz, I decided to take off 3 layers of clothes just to feel the cold. After 3 minutes I struggled breathing, let alone walking or any mental focus, as well as my eyes were fighting just to stay open. I by no means can say I experienced anything close to the Holocaust, but I broke down within 3 minutes. One can only imagine the horrors that people in this and other camps went through day in and day out, especially if they were out in the cold working in such brutal conditions. I will never forget this moment. Rest in peace to all who perished here in Auschwitz.” -Ori Herschman, photo credit: @jcahn4 Source: MEOR — with Ori Herschmann.
Tell me a little bit about your family.
In November 2013, my father passed away suddenly at the age of 67. It was very important to me to do something in his memory. After a person leaves this world, it is said they can no longer do mitzvos and must rely on others to do things in their memory to help elevate their soul. The entire essence of Humans of Judaism is for my father. It’s everything he ever instilled in my siblings and myself focuses on the good and love the community. Every day that a post goes up, every inspired comment and positive feedback a story yields, is all in my father’s memory, and I hope it makes his soul soar.
Israel’s first convention for redheads took place this past week, with 200 attendees determined to prove that orange really is the new black. Photo: Haaretz
Check out and “like” the Humans of Judaism Facebook page and be sure to follow HOJ on Instagram!
Thanks Nikki for taking the time to chat and for sharing these great photos.