YILC member recounts a life ‘Plucked from Fire’


The Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst recently hosted a book launch for “Plucked from Fire,” the memoirs of YILC member Moshe Rubin. 

Mr. Rubin, now 90 years old, was a young teenager when he was taken to Auschwitz where his mother and siblings were all murdered. After the war, the only survivor of his large family, he traveled to America on the same boat as the Klausenberger Rebbe with whom he forged a close relationship. 

Rabbi Yair Hoffman was instrumental in arranging the material for publication. Dr. Jonathan Liederman was behind the scenes encouraging Mr. Rubin to discuss and then record his life experiences for posterity.

Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, Rav of the Young Israel, introduced the book launch program, highlighting Moshe Rubin’s exceptional simchas hachaim. Having known Moshe for three decades, Rabbi Teitelbaum spoke of the many notable personal and communal achievements of the survivor. He described how Moshe’s father disappeared when Moshe was barely bar mitzvah and how Moshe was left to fend for his family before being deported to the death camps himself.

Feigning to be years older than his true age, Moshe was selected for slave labor. After numerous encounters with death, both in Auschwitz and on the Death March from Auschwitz, Moshe was finally free. He arrived in the United States, virtually alone, on Chanukah, erev Shabbos Dec. 20, 1946. His first home in America was the yeshivah of the Klausenberger Rebbe. 

In spite of being a young orphan with no immediate family, Mr. Rubin, together with his beloved wife, Elaine, raised a beautiful Jewish family. Rabbi Teitelbaum pointed to Mr. Rubin as representative of the Jewish people as a whole, forever resilient in faith and possessed of strength of spirit.

Moshe Rubin then spoke passionately about his experiences and the importance of memory.

He talked about how, trapped in the gas chambers as poison poured out instead of water, people used their last seconds to write in their own blood on the walls the Hebrew word: “Zechor!” — “Remember!” He entreated the audience not to forget.

Mr. Rubin talked about the brachos of Hashem and how he was able to build his family and support the Sanz-Klausenberger hospital in Netanya and Yeshivat Maarava Mechon Rubin in Israel.

The program closed with Mr. Rubin and his wife Elaine surrounded by many of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Mr. Rubin went on to sign books and give brachos to the many people in attendance.