Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Yihiyeh Tov for Yisrolik ich bin dos kid fun geto

There will be goodness for Yisrolik the child of the ghetto.

Last night I was privileged to attend “Partners of Hope” an evening of symphony and remembrance of the heroes who risked their lives in the pursuit of saving others. It was sponsored by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation and many dignitaries were in the audience. It was something to see and hear. Shashi Tharoor, UN Under-Secretary-General presented, Dan Gillerman, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, spoke on the legacy of Wallenberg and Rabbi Robert Levine of the NYC Board of Rabbis gave a wonderful d’var torah on the ideals of those who take action to end the suffering of others. David Broza also preformed with the Westfield Symphony Orchestra all in the historic Carnegie Hall. All and all it was a beautiful night of music and memory.

As a third generation Holocaust survivor and a jaded Jewish community activist, I am generally sick of Holocaust memorials. Yet this was somehow different. I was one of the youngest people in the room who wasn’t being taken by a parent to see the Symphony. It was clear that this event was not only about those who were killed but those who survived.

The Shoa was the worst event in Jewish modern history, but because the last survivors will be passing away in the coming years, we must find a way to let this horror be a lesson that informs our understanding and not a fear that defines our existence.

This event was hopeful. While it did pause to remember those who were killed, it did not feel trite. In the past we have spent too much time only to remember what didn’t happen because of the Holocaust. We must look towards what did happen in light of the Holocaust as a way to move forward.

The Holocaust is only going to be a memory and a page in a history book in ten years. There will be no more speakers at youth group events or on the Bima on Yom HaShoa.

I am here because of the Holocaust. I am a Jew because of the Holocaust. And I will teach my children that because of horrors so graphic, your great grandfather and great grandmother fought their way to America to raise your grandmother. And I will teach that my children that their great grandfather fought to end the terror in Europe, liberate the camps and return to raise your grandfather. I will say that because of the Holocaust, and those who lived and those who did not, you will live and will live as a Jew.

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