07 April 2013

Holocaust Remembrance Day - Have We Missed the Point?

Every year we commemorate the 6 million plus Jews, 1.5 that were children, that were murdered by the Nazis and their sympathizers/bystanders during World War II. This year, Yom HaShoah begins Sunday evening, April 7th and ends Monday evening, April 8th.

While obviously I do not object to the remembrance of our six million brothers and sisters (and the destruction of their children and grandchildren along with them) I wonder if we have missed the point.

Six million Jews were murdered.

These individuals were murdered because they were Jewish - practicing, non-practicing, attended synagogue or not. There was no difference between them. I'm even sure that there were Jews at the time who considered themselves more German than the Germans and were quite surprised to find themselves in line with those Jews with long beards.

The Holocaust was the complete destruction of a third of the Jewish People at the time - our lives, our centers of Torah study, our contributions to secular society, our roots in places that had long been established.

It's easy to "universalize" the Holocaust today - who hasn't heard about various massacres around the globe and seen similarities between them. But if we do - we've missed the point.

We were murdered because we were Jews. That is the point. I think that to commemorate the dead is admirable and easy - but we must take it a step further and take action. It's time to honor those six million Jews by re-dedicating the day to learning about our heritage and history. What does it mean to be a Jew? What does being Jewish have to do with my life?

The Jewish People have been around 3000+ years, certainly not a fly-by-night religion. We've seen empires come and go, rise up and crumble - certainly it's time to give it more than a glance since our bar/bat mitzvah days.

Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day should be more than a moment of silence in our lives - it should be a reminder that we are part of something bigger, something our grandparents were massacred for - let's take some action.

Simple to Remember

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