Sunday, April 20, 2014

Yom Ha'Shoah and Our Collective Memory

It's a breathless pace, but there's a reasoned explanation behind this "madness." It's called collective memory.

We Jews are more than a proud people. We are one of the few ancient civilizations still around, which is a major miracle considering that hate seems to haunt Jewish history. Oddly enough, it has strengthened us as a people and helped shape our identity by never forgetting each and every hate-filled event.

In fact, we are the pros at seamlessly fusing history, memory and peoplehood. Let's go back to the two "P"s -- Purim and Passover. They're prime examples of this synthesis. Holding a Holocaust memorial day a week after Passover ends seems a natural progression in our march over time.

I'm wondering if your students know that we have one of the longest memories around?  The recent shooting in Kansas City is an unfortunate stop on the road, but it won't be forgotten. The same way members of our immediate and extended families brutally killed by the Nazis won't be erased from our minds. Help your students remember their relatives by encouraging them to submit names to Yad Va'Shem, to be read out loud at this year's ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance . Want a follow-up? Encourage them to write up the story behind the name and submit it to Yad Va'Shem's Pages of Testimony project.

May the memories of their relatives be an added blessing to our collective memory.

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