Holocaust Memorial Day
25th Nisan 5781
7th April 2021
Tomorrow at precisely 10:00 the wail of the siren will remind all Israelis to stand in deference to those who perished and those who survived the Holocaust.
Buses stop and passengers alight and stand to attention, cars stop, even in the middle of the freeway to pay tribute to the 6 million and ordinary people come to a standstill wherever they are. It is both beautiful and eerie, and very special. We remember.
Never again is not just an expression as Jews around the world are increasingly in danger of attack, and many say “It’s only the obvious Jews”. What is an “obvious” Jew, one who wears the clothes or has a hooked nose or fulfills the perception? Racism is racism is racism, whomsoever is victimized – even if he is a Jew, the usual scapegoat.
Tonight a moving ceremony takes place in Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial and Museum. https://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/remembrance-day/broadcast.asp
The words of the late President Shimon Peres at the Holocaust and Heroism Ceremony at Yad Vashem in 2013
“The Jewish people are a small nation in number but large in spirit. That spirit cannot be burned in the ovens. From the ashes of the Holocaust rose spiritual redemption and political rebirth. We rose and we built a state of our own.
We lost possessions but retained our values.
We returned to our ancient homeland.
We renewed our moral legacy.
We returned to independence.
We returned to creating, to educating and we returned to hope.”
Hannah Senesh was a young woman from Budapest whose Hebrew teacher in Hungary, Rachel Bresslauer, mother of our dear friend Prof. Gabby Barkay,spoke to her about the nascent State, encouraging Hannah to come on Aliya. Upon her arrival Hannah enlisted in the British Army’s Jewish Brigade and parachuted into enemy territory where she was tortured and ultimately perished. Hannah was a poetess and this beautiful song was written by her and her story is told. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkjsqUQSrhE
The prayer for the dead on this day is different to all others. Cantor Shai Abramson sings
“El, full of compassion, who dwells in the heights,
provide a fitting rest upon the wings of the Shekhina,
within the ascents of the holy and the pure, who shine like the starry heaven
for our six million sisters and brothers who lost their lives in the Shoah:
that were killed and slaughtered, suffocated and buried alive,
burned and tortured —the young and the elderly, women and men,
leaders and simpletons, those faithful in Torah along with rebels and dreamers.
Beloved and pleasant in life, and not separated from that love even after death.”
I wish you all a long life, a life in which you, we, are unafraid to be who we are
With love from Jerusalem, the living proof that we rose from the ashes.