My Inspiring Encounter with L.A. Holocaust Survivor Joshua Kaufman

“Orit Arfa?” I heard my name on the stairs leading up to Chabad in Berlin near Alexanderplatz. I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone I knew on my first Friday night in Berlin.

But then I spot Rachel and Alexandra Kaufman, sisters of my former YULA high school classmate, Malkie, and former co-star in YULA plays, Judy. They are just as pretty as I (and my mom) remember with their bright eyes. They were with their father, Joshua “Yehoshua” Kaufman, whom I remember from Shabbat dinner at their Hancock Park home when I was in 9th grade. He’s hard to forget – a tall, quiet yet imposing, strong presence. Some locals may have seen his well-known plumbing truck cruising the streets of LA. At 88, he still works.

“What are you doing here?” We asked simultaneously. I explained how I moved to Berlin for the summer for a change and writing opportunities, and then Rachel told me why they were in Berlin – although she didn’t have to: “It’s a crazy story. It’s all over the news.”

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