On Wednesday, my Yavneh Academy eighth-grade class had the privilege to Skype with residents at the Jewish Home at Rockleigh. The questions ranged from memorable fads to the satanic Holocaust. One resident interviewed was George Hantgan.
Any question we fired at him was answered with an eagerness to share and inspire. We received information firsthand from someone who experienced effects from the Holocaust while living in America, anti-Semitism, and even the Depression. He recounted countless tales from his childhood, which included stories from his father’s business to singing in the shower. As we listened to the memorable anecdotes, it became clear that wisdom radiated from his very lips. Mr. Hantgan’s fascinating childhood captivated the class.
One important point that he brought up was the anti-Semitism in his lifetime. He explained that he was one of the only Jews while in high school and was constantly downgraded because of his ethnic group. Mr. Hantgan shared how he “beat” the anti-Semites. He did his best to forget about it and move on, but, most importantly, he was resilient. This lesson is one that should be learned by all Jews everywhere.
George Hantgan is the perfect example of a person that all Jews should strive to be. His unpretentiousness and modesty is most inspiring. With his amazing character and calm personality, he really is a dedicated and compassionate person.