What we grieve for is not the loss of a grand vision, but rather the loss of common things, events and gestures.... ordinariness is the most precious thing we struggle for, what the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto fought for. Not noble causes or abstract theories. But the right to go on living with a sense of purpose and a sense of self-worth—an ordinary life.
Irena Klepfisz (b. 1941), U.S. Jewish poet, essayist, and educator; born in Poland. Dreams of an Insomniac, part 3 (1990).
From an April 19, 1988, address delivered at a memorial ceremony marking the forty- fifth anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Klepfisz and her mother survived the uprising, in which her 30-year-old father, a Jewish rights activist, was killed. The rest of her family died during World War II, most of them in the Treblinka death camp.