I’m Not German Because My Famous German Grandfather Had to Leave Germany in the 1930s

Josia Nakash is a marketing consultant and founder of the Good Vibe Agency.

My grandfather who I never met, Karl Schenker


As a Canadian living in Israel I’m worried about the unfolding anti-Jewish scenario playing out in the U.S. Especially because I have been next to the world’s foremost Kabbalist for the last 15 years, who has been warning about Germany happening all over again for the last decade.

We recently discovered that my grandfather who I never met was “one of the best known society photographers” in Berlin in the 1910s and 20s.  We knew he was one of the top photographers of his time but had no record of anything until we discovered that the Ludwig Museum was doing an exhibition of his glamorous images. Apparently all the celebrities in those days were styled and photographed by my grandfather Karl Schenker, the “born portraitist of elegant people”. He was a master at retouching photographs and his portraits of young women in furs set the standard for the silent film era.

               My grandmother who I never met, Lilli Schenker.

Born in 1886 in Bukov­i­na (Ro­ma­nia), my grandfather came to Ber­lin via Lviv and Mu­nich around 1912, where he estab­lished a flour­ish­ing stu­dio. In 1925 he moved to New York for five years, where he main­ly il­lus­trat­ed and paint­ed por­traits un­der the name Karol Schenk­er. Af­ter 1930, back in Ber­lin, his name ap­pears as an ad­ver­tis­ing pho­to­g­ra­pher in mag­azines. But af­ter 1934 the trail goes cold. Fac­ing per­se­cu­tion as a Jew, in 1938 he immigrated to Lon­don, where he opened a stu­dio on Re­gent Street.

To avoid maltreatment my father was raised in a non-Jewish environment, under the name Peter Karol Kersen, a surname that uses most of letters in “Schenker”. My father studied mechanical engineering in France and made his way to Canada afterward, where he opened his own business and married my mother.

Fortunately for me, in 1978, when a cultural war broke out between French speaking Quebec and the English speaking Canadians, my parents immigrated to Israel. I had no idea what to expect and was only 12 years old when we arrived. But from the moment we stepped off the plane, I sensed something very special about Israel that I couldn’t really define.

It would only be some 25 years later, when I discovered the wisdom of Kabbalah that I learned about the special spiritual energy of Israel and the unique role of the Jews in the world. Our entire raison d’etre is to restore harmony by sharing the method of connection that was passed down to us through the generations.

For all of us who study authentic Kabbalah under the world’s foremost Kabbalist Michael Laitman, it is difficult to watch the unraveling of great countries like the United States.  Americans of all levels of society seem to be living in an unstable environment nowadays. Over the last decade Michael Laitman has been explaining how to restore harmony in our world, but his words have fallen on deaf ears at all levels of society – both Jewish and non-Jewish. Only people with what we call a “point in the heart”, i.e. people who actively seek to understand the meaning of life, are capable of hearing this message. And they eventually find their way to Kabbalah.

The message is very simple: only through unity and connection can we solve all of our problems, be they personal or global, creating a better world for us and our children.

Unfortunately, no matter how bad anti-Semitism gets in America, and even after the recent events in Charlottesville, I’m afraid that American Jews will only be able to absorb this message when their assets are frozen and removed from their control.  I have the luxury of saying this out loud because I live in Israel, so have no need to sugarcoat the truth.

Where will American Jews go when things get really bad? To Canada?

According to Michael Laitman, this wave of neo-Nazism will spread to Canada soon and the deterioration of the Jews’ normal life over there will be much quicker.

As his teacher’s father before him, Michael Laitman’s message for the Jews is falling on deaf ears and history is about to repeat itself. In the 1930s, the greatest living Kabbalist of the last 100 years, Rav Ashlag warned the Jews of Poland that things were going to deteriorate. But they excommunicated him and stayed put, and we know how that ended.

What is the solution? Open Your Heart

No matter where you are from – Europe or North America – no one wants to wake up to a world filled with so much hate and bloodshed every day.

So whether or not you are Jewish, or simply a concerned citizen of the world, I hope you will begin to understand that the time has come for humanity to learn what our great sages have had in store for us all along. The time has come for Israel to fulfill its true role in global affairs and provide the world with an example of unity. The time has come for Jews to be aware of their special role to help provide this example and method to the rest of humanity. This is why they are placed in such key positions throughout society.

You don’t need to study Kabbalah like we do, but you do need to be open to hearing this message and understand what is required of you: to willingly participate in this process of correcting the world. You won’t need to change anything about your life except acquire some additional knowledge about a better way for us all to get along here together. By doing this simple thing – opening your mind and heart to this process we need to go through together – in this you will be preventing suffering for yourself, your family and the next generation.




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