Sunday, March 28, 2010

Collective Memory is a Jewish Custom

Before we sit down at tomorrow’s Seder table let’s take stock of the collective memory months we are observing. In Adar, we recall Amalek, perfectly embodied by Haman. We seamlessly transition to the month of Nissan, retelling the story of our slavery under Pharoah, our eventual freedom and entry into nationhood. Our long memory doesn’t end here. A mere six days after Passover we’re declaring “Never Again” by marking Holocaust Remembrance Day. We want our children and students to do more than just memorize the date. We want them to etch the message in the deep recesses of their mind. The question is “how?” Last year I devoted my Holocaust Remembrance Day blog to telling you what we do in Israel. This year I’m going to keep you on Israeli shores by urging you to take a virtual visit to the Ghetto Fighter’s Kibbutz and Museum – an appropriate place to “go to” since Holocaust Memorial Day has purposely been positioned on the 27th of Nissan, the Hebrew date of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in April 1943. Pictured above is the museum’s model of the Treblinka Concentration Camp. You’ll also see a second photo of the museum’s Children’s Memorial. Expand your trip’s horizons by taking it to a different dimension provided by an 8 minute film on the kibbutz and its museum. Even if you don’t understand Hebrew, you’ll get the gist. There is an English translation of sorts and the archival footage is wonderful. You decide if it fits in with your Holocaust Memorial Day lesson plan.

So, as you sit down at your Seder table and say the blessing of “She’Hecheyanu” bear in mind everything that Jewish nationhood has gone through – from Pharoah to today – to get us to our present point. Also think about this appropriate word play. The word "remember" is actually "re-member". Each generation of the Jewish people has to repeat the historical memory of its national past in order to continue being a member of our wonderful nation!
Chag Sameach…Tami


  1. Dear Tami,
    Thank you for always sharing such wonderful thoughts with us~
    Chag kosher v'sameach

    Rebecca Pinsker
    Columbia, SC

  2. My pleasure Rebecca. If you adapt any of the ideas I suggest to your classroom, please share the results with all of us.