“I took my eyes off the road for a minute,” Tom recalled, “and that’s all it takes at 95 mph.” The convertible, with its top down, rolled over him. “Most of the bones in my body were broken, including all my ribs.
The doctors kept me unconscious during those first, most painful weeks.
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It was more humane.” Tom’s odds against living were set at 1,000 to one.
But since he was young and in top physical shape, his body was able to fight back. When I woke up, I didn’t even recognize myself.” Tom had a massive spinal injury which left the lower half of his body paralyzed.
Carrying false papers was not sufficient insurance, as Miriam’s uncle discovered.
He was stopped on the street by a group of Gestapo soldiers who demanded that he expose himself. You must get to shelter immediately.” Miriam believed it strongly enough to wake up her mother and sister and convince them to follow her. Although they had Christian papers, Miriam, along with her mother and sister, were rounded up as “Polish political prisoners” and deported in a cattle car.
“He looked at me rather strangely, then handed me an English translation of Tractate Brachot.” Tom devoured the material. But as he would eventually discover, it required superhuman effort to hold herself back.
“I can’t explain it,” he says, “but it was pulling me like a magnet.” One time Tom was reading the Talmud and weeping. In the meantime, Tom’s wife was looking on with curiosity. ” Tom opened the phone book and called a rabbi who happened to be Orthodox. It took nearly five years, but when the conversion was finalized, Tom and Katherine – now Gershom and Dinah – fulfilled their dream and, along with their two young sons, moved to Israel.
En route to a weekend home from college, he was cruising along a Canadian highway at 95 mph in his bright red Triumph Spitfire.
The nasal decongestant he’d taken that morning made him drowsy.
Born of strong stock, Tom came to relish the challenge. As the furthest extremity from my brain, it was my most effective way to demonstrate voluntary muscle control.” One day he felt his toe twitch. Surgeons flew in from around the country to witness this groundbreaking achievement.
After 18 months of intense physical therapy, Tom managed to struggle back to his feet and walk with a cane.
I never knew why.” There were other unexplained things as well: His mother’s staunch support of Israel. And the grandmother who kept a box of matzah hidden under her bed.