Tag Archives: Holocaust

Chag Sameach – Happy Holidays!

6 May

Last week, we wrote about Holocaust Remembrance day in Israel. No-one in Israel is untouched by the holocaust, but different people “commemorate” the day in various ways. For example, not everyone stands during the siren that sounds off throughout Israel. In fact, many of those who do not stand are among those whose families suffered the most in the Holocaust. The same is true of today’s celebrations, of Yom Hazikaron (“Memorial day” for fallen soldiers) and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli “Independence day”). There are varying degrees of celebration of these days. One person might add Hallel to his prayers, while another may go out to the park and make a BBQ. Yet a third will find it meaningful to read off a list of fallen comrades and light candles for them. What is clear though, is that we Jews need a safe place to live on this planet. Our attachment to Israel goes back centuries and millennia, but the absolute necessity of having a place to be safe in this cruel world goes back only a few decades. No matter how we celebrate, we all need to be glad that we have our own nation and a powerful military to defend us. Together with our fulfillment of Torah and mitzvoth, that’s about the best we can hope for until meshiach arrives!

            It’s Israeli Independence Day today, but if you’re feeling studious, go to http://www.jerusalemconnection.org/weekly and have a look at the weekly Torah portion from the eyes of a sixteenth century sage and master of the entire Torah. And if that little taste of mind-blowing spirituality fails to whet your appetite, go to www.jewishspiritualbooks.com and check out the array of spiritual books on Jewish meditation and prayer that are available to you. Finally, if you just want to tune into the events and celebrations that are happening here in Jerusalem, go to www.chabadjerusalem.org something for everyone! Chag sameach!

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!