Standing for Holocaust Day in Israel

29 Apr

It’s Holocaust remembrance week. I got involved in a discussion about whether or not to stand during the siren that goes off in Israel. The siren commemorates the six million who died, and also asserts our dedication to never again allow such a thing to happen. Some people stand during the sixty-second siren, and others (who are Jewish) do not. So, those who do not stand must be “insensitive, out of touch, and ignorant,” right? At least that was what one side of the discussion claimed. Wait, not so quickly…it turns out that many who do not stand are from families who lost the most in the Holocaust – Chasidic families from Poland, Hungary and east Europe. They do not stand because a sixty-second reminder of the Holocaust simply does not do justice to the suffering that they underwent in the holocaust. Their everyday existence in the holy Land is testimonial to their survival, and the scars of the Holocaust are with them every minute, every hour and every day. They feel that standing still for sixty seconds once a year diminishes, rather than enhances, the memory of the six million. Of course, many will disagree with them…but this is another way in which we need to overcome the gulf, and bridge the gap between secular and religious, between Sfardi and Ashkenzai, and between right and left in Israel. Always be ready to see the issue from another perspective, to see through another person’s eyes…and be ready to do what our parsha (Emor) says, which is to speak good about another Jew and another human being, because that’s what we deserve…

                For a bit more on the parsha, visit our site at http://www.jerusalemconnection.org/weekly If you’re interested in some Jewish meditation or prayer, check out www.jewishspiritualbooks.com, and if you just want to know what’s going on around J-town, go to www.chabadjerusalem.org Have a great week!

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