Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Helen Stransky - January 31, 2008

Finding Religion

What did you conclude?

Well um, I, I didn't believe what this um, I, I figured that we were different in our beliefs and the um, the, the--I remember, I remember the name of--I went to Temple Emmanuel in Los Angeles and it was a um, wasn't a--what do you call it? It was a regular--it was a Reform temple and he put different ideas in my head that I've concluded were wrong afterwards. I was um, I felt that what he had told me was lies and um, I investigated what, what reformed rabbis and what uh, what are they called? Reform rabbis--what, what--conservative and Orthodox rabbis believed and I concluded that in my beliefs I was close to the Orthodox. Oh, thank you. But I couldn't and I had thought of--because I looked for my background. I looked to see where would I fit in with what I believed and so I heard tapes from a friend of mine that was a Mess... Messianic Jew and she'd been raised leading the services in the temple. And I asked her--she got tapes from rabbis--a Reformed rabbi, an Orthodox rabbi and a Conservative rabbi. And the Conservative and the Reformed rabbi did not believe in God though they said that it was important to--as a means of social justice but they had no real faith in God and I figured I don't know how they could believe that because I looked around me and it was too hard--I couldn't believe that there wasn't a God so I, so I rejected that. And them um, and then the Reform--to become an Orthodox Jew again, I couldn't--that would be like putting myself in a strait jacket because I'd been grown up--growing up eating pork and the things that from the families where I'd grown up in. This was loyalty to parents. And then uh, to keep laws of kosher uh, I didn't need it. I'd grown up without it and I didn't need to grow up that way.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn