Most will agree that my childhood was deprived. I have seen and experienced the unimaginable and came to America with nothing. No skills, no education, no money and I did not speak the language.
Life is about choices. I did not use my past experience as an excuse but as strength to be the best at what I can be. I rose above the negative and created a something positive.
These are, I feel, the most important commandments that helped guide me and live a life that matters. I hope you find them helpful to share and guide you on a path to a successful future.
1. “ZACHOR” – ZACHOR means Remember. We must remember the souls of our dear departed ones, all six million of them who cry out to the world with this single word. To me, ZACHOR is a commandment. It is my obligation. I survived so we could keep the world from acquiring amnesia.
As we remember we must educate others so that the lessons of the Holocaust will not be forgotten. We must teach future generations to recognize and extinguish the hatred that breeds genocide.
2. Choices – It is essential to understand the consequences of personal choices. While you can’t always choose what happens to us in a crisis or calamity, you can choose to learn from it.
It is possible to let tragedy or trauma become a reason to stop living. It is also possible to live through extreme circumstances and commit to a life that has meaning and a life that matters.
3. Love Overpowers Hate – They are both contagious so choose love.
4. Be Tolerant – Whether it’s the Nazi Holocaust in the 30’s and 40’s or any other Holocaust in the world we live in today, it all goes back to hatred. We must each choose to take responsibility to actively work against hatred.
Hateful words, schoolyard bullying, hostile political campaigns, even reckless driving, all these things contribute to an environment of hatred. Education is the pathway to living a tolerant peaceful world. Remember, hate is toxic and will ultimately consume the hater.
5. Taking Responsibility – Take responsibility for your actions. Excuses will only set you back. You and only you are accountable for your behavior. You have the power to shape your future and influence others by modeling responsibility.
6. Be The Best Version Of You – In order to be successful strive to be best at all you do as a worker, spouse, parent, child, sibling, friend, or citizen. Your actions will not be unnoticed. Everyone is watching and if you set your mind to do the best – you will be the best.
7. Famous Golden Rule – Treat others the way you want to be treated. Showing respect and kindness defines your interaction within relationships or workplace. We must be able to treat others with respect. Conduct our lives with a smile across our face. When you do so, surprisingly, smiles will be returned.
8. Gratitude – Gratitude is the opposite of taking things for granted. Be grateful for your family, loved ones, and all things you do have rather than feeling sad for the things you don’t. Being grateful will solidify your craving for happiness.
9. Honor Our Shared Humanity – Do not despise our differences.
10. Do Not Be A Bystander – During World War II, there were three kinds of people; perpetrators, victims, and bystanders. Do not be a bystander. When you see injustice, let your voice be heard.
That is why we created i-shout-out.org, a place where you can take a stand online against bigotry, injustice, bullying, or any type of hatred. This record of shout-outs will live online forever so future generations could know that you were not a bystander when you saw injustice in your world.
To learn more about me, my history and adventures, please be sure to read my autobiography, “Living A Life That Matters: From Nazi Nightmare To American Dream.”
To learn more about ZACHOR or our youth campaign to stop intolerance please visit: