While visiting Auschwitz with Rabbi Paysach Krohn, Lubavitcher Shmueli Cohen from Crown Heights realized that his group’s security escort Ariel is Jewish. He immediately offered him to put on tefillin on those hallowed grounds.
Last week, Project Mesorah, accompanied by Rabbi Paysach Krohn, arranged a tour of Poland to explore one thousand years of Jewish history, the hub of Chassidic life, and of course, the devastation that was wrought in this part of the world.
While visiting the Auschwitz concentration camp, a Chabad member of the group realized that the group’s security escort Ariel who provided security throughout the trip is Jewish. Immediately, he offered him the opportunity to put on tefillin.
At their next stop before entering Birkenau, when the group stopped for mincha, Shmueli Cohen of Crown Heights sprung to action and assisted Ariel to put on Tefillin.
It was a very emotional scene, the site of a Yid helping another Yid don Tefillin in such an emotionally-charged location. Many members of the group filmed the moment, saying it was the highlight of their trip. Many also came over to congratulate and offer handshakes and hugs to Ariel and Shmueli.
At the conclusion of the tour, at 1:00 AM in the morning, Shmulie, like a true chossid of the Rebbe, approached Ariel with a personal request.
With pleading eyes he asked Ariel to commit to putting on tefillin at least once a week. Ariel replied that he will try. Shmueli responded, “Can I have a handshake on that?” And the two shook hands, pledging to honor the memory of those killed for being Yidden by living like one.