Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Holocaust survivor speaks at Chabad UCF

Tuesday, Feb. 9 was more than just the regular weekly chillin’ and grillin’ barabecue for UCF students at Chabad. Students were fortunate to hear the moving and inspirational story of Leibel Zisman’s journey through the Holocaust.  

Zisman, who grew up in Kovno, Lithuania, endured the harsh pain of living in several concentration camps and suffered the loss of his mother, father, sister and brother. Yet he persevered through the hardships of war and was eventually liberated, which Zisman believes is a result of his constant belief and faith in God. 

Although Zisman escaped from the Nazi oppression, he will never forget the trauma he suffered—like many Holocaust survivors. Sharing his life in a book he authored, titled “I Believe,” and telling his story publicly countless times might not come easy, but it is something that Zisman feels is essential to ensuring an atrocity like this never occurs again. Stories like Zisman’s are what keep the Jewish community connected to its past and hopeful for its future. 

Student President of UCF Chabad Brian Levy Hara said, “His message was touching. I feel privileged going through life as a Jewish student to be able to see and hear firsthand tangible evidence of the war. As part of my Jewish heritage, it is crucial that we, as college students, relay the message from stories we hear to future generations so that the message is never forgotten.”

Zisman kept the crowd of more than 80 students at Chabad UCF captivated with his personal stories of courage and faith for more than two hours. Many students bought his book, which he then signed for them, and dozens of students lingered on to hear even more.

Zisman’s story never loses its agony, its power or its moments of hope. He is living proof that if you are persistent and never forget where you come from, you can overcome even some of the toughest and most difficult obstacles in life. 

Doreen Monk is a UCF student and member of the Chabad Executive Board. For more information or to contact Chabad at UCF please visit http://www.jewishucf.com or call 407-949-8838.


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