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Batmitzvah book just a coincidence – or something more?



Has something ever happened to you that made you sit up, take note, and think – how can that possibly be? Well it happened recently to me, and some people that I have shared this story with said it gave them the ghrills (a good thing, I think).

My daughter, Gabi, celebrated her Batmitzvah recently at Schafflers Nursery in Lyndhurst. Attached to the nursery is a little coffee shop with a second-hand book store. My brother and his daughter, Romi, went to the coffee shop about three months before the Batmitzvah party because it was a favourite spot for my dad in the last couple of years before his passing. As Romi wandered into the book store section, she saw a book lying on the table, on its own, in such a way that she couldn’t miss it, as if it had been placed there for her to not miss it.

The book was Anne Frank, Beyond the Diary. What made this book relevant to our family is that my mother’s story is similar to that of Anne Frank. She, too, was born in Amsterdam, and was hidden in an attic as a child. So, obviously, her grandchildren have always been interested in the Anne Frank story because she passed away before they were born and they all wanted to know more about that time. They “know” her only through a film my brother made of her for the Holocaust Foundation in the last year of her life.

Romi, picked up the book to page through it, and since it was a second-hand book, it already had a dedication written in it. She started to read the dedication, and was overcome with disbelief. The dedication went, “Dear Gab, on your Batmitzvah day, I wish you everything of the best for a happy and successful future. Thanx for being such a great friend, love always Romy.”

There she was, a different Romi, holding a book related to her Granny Rosa’s story, dedicated to wishing mazaltov to a different Gabi on her Batmitzvah, at the exact venue that her cousin, Gabi, was going to celebrate her Batmitzvah. So many coincidences all wrapped up in one.

Romi bought the book that the other Romy had bought who knows how many years before, and kept it a secret for three months. She then gave it to Gabi on her Batmitzvah with her own, now second dedication in the book, “Dear Gab, I love you to the bone, congrats on your Bati, love you always Romi.”

The book now has two similar dedications from two different Romis to two different Gabis, and at the same time, my cousin in the Netherlands has just released a book on the story of my mom’s family, titled The Landau Brothers: A Jewish family of chocolate makers in Amsterdam before and after the Holocaust.

Is this a message or blessing from those that have passed on – or just an unbelievable coincidence?

I would love to find out who the original Gabi and Romy are.

  • David Zidel is the father of the second Bati, Gabi.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Janice Davies

    Jul 14, 2023 at 8:43 am

    Wow! Amazing story!!!

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