Saturday, April 25, 2009

Holocaust Day

A note that here, Holocaust Day is called - יום הזיכרון לשואה ולגבורה - Remembrance Day for the Holocaust and the Brave/Courageous/ get the picture. It sounds better to me and it does make you think about all the Jews who didn't just walk their way into the gas chambers - who walks into the gas chambers really?
At the memorial ceremony held at Yad Vashem on Monday evening, 6 torches were lit but survivors. This year, the them was children who survived and their stories were, as always to us post-Holocaust generations, nothing short of unbelievable. The twins, who withstood Mengele's experiements - the pain, the agony - and who survived, along with their parents and made Aliyah as a family after the war. The Greek boy, now and older man living in Holon, who used every ounce or savvy to save himself and many others during the war. The children who were forced to live on their own at young, young ages - at Shabbat lunch this past week, our hostess, Yael, (wife of cousin Marc Rosenberg) told of a story of 2 children, ages 5 and 7, who survived by virtue of their preternatural adult-like skills. She looked across the room at her 4 year old son, busily playing with toys - a very, young boy indeed - and said she couldn't imagine her Aryeh on his own, fending for himself.
The day had its own drama with Durban II and the 'he who shall not be named' speaker. Israelis were up in arms about the speech - what was said and what wasn't said.
In Gemara class on Tuesday morning we studied B'rachot and it felt good to study - something pleasurable and important as Jews that was denied during many times of Jewish history to Jews. We studied, discussed and enjoyed - our own little bit of fighting back on a day of remembering not just destruction but acts of rebellion, battle and standing up for Jewish rights.

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