The view from my veranda

Yom ha Shoah 2019

Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Memorial Day, 26th Nissan 5779

1st May, 2019

Yesterday, I sat on our veranda, the sun was shining on the panorama of Jerusalem before me, the rehearsal for the Independence Day fly-past of Israeli Air Force aeroplanes overhead, the flowers were bright red and the blue and white Israeli flag was blowing in the breeze. This is our revenge for the Holocaust I thought.

It doesn’t bring back Zvi’s family who perished, but it gives his Israeli family a future.

As you know I always look on the bright side but my fears for our Diaspora terrify me. The writing is on the wall, the cartoons are reminiscent of Der Sturmer and anti-Semitic incidents are up by 17%. The word hate is overused and young people, whose natural instinct is to fight for the underdog, are being indoctrinated by lies and half-truths, to believe the Jewish State is guilty of war crimes. Today as dusk falls we will honour those who died, those who fought and those who survived the unimaginable, but have we really remembered?

If you recall, on Purim we are taught to drink enough so that we cannot differentiate between Mordechai and Haman. Why? It’s obvious, so that our minds will be unadulterated by hatred. We must be the builders not the destroyers, we must pull together irrespective of our denomination, persuasion leaning or preferences. It’s time to remember that those who perished were killed because they were Jews, no-one cared whether they were observant or not. They wore the Yellow Star to show they were the same as each other but different to everyone else. They were beaten and beaten down before they were rounded up and sent to their deaths or worse. Worse?

Let me tell you about an incredible man who passed away this week, Menachem Mendel Taub, was born to a Hasidic dynasty in Transylvania, Romania in 1923. As a young man, Menachem Mendel was subjected to the heinous experiments of Dr Mengele, which left him unable to have children or grow the beard appropriate to his calling. Menachem Mendel went on to become the Kaliver Rebbe, a man of exceptional kindness and empathy, a man who loved. He married and adopted two daughters and he and his wife came on Aliya to Israel in 1962. The Rebbe never spoke a word of vengeance, never became angry at his fate, he became one of the greatest and beloved teachers of Judaism. He passed away at the age of 96 leaving behind him a legacy of love for his people. His revenge was living and loving.

In a very short while the Eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day will begin. We will light a memorial candle at home.

The shops, restaurants and entertainment close, the television broadcasts movies about the Shoah and Survivors give testimonies so that we, their children, will know and never forget. Tomorrow morning, at 10:00 a siren will begin its keening wail as Israel stands to attention, reads the psalms and the sight of drivers halting their usual helter skelter down the highways stopping where they are and standing beside their vehicles, heads bowed to honour those who perished. Buses allow their passengers to alight, to stand beside the bus, people in the street stop their hurry scurry and we are one people in mourning.

I beg of you, dear friends all over the world, do not be complacent. I know you have good lives, but the winds of change are blowing very cold at the moment. What you do now, yes you, can change the entire situation. If you, each and every one of you write letters until your hands hurt and if you have influence please ensure that the advertisers of the New York Times use their influence. Yes the New York Times, the newspaper that concealed the story of the Concentration Camps…………..

I want to bring you songs that express hope despite the implications of the day.

Hai – Live. Some 600 Holocaust Survivors and their families gathered at Beit AviChai in Jerusalem to sing with Koolulam

Yaacov Shwekey singing “We Are a Miracle” expresses everything we were, are and will be

El Maleh Rachamim – God full of compassion, the song for those who perished, sung by Shai Abrahamson at Birkenau Concentration Camp

Stand proud, stand tall and never ever forget.

With love from our verandah, overlooking Jerusalem, the Capital of the Jewish State to which we returned, built and thrived. We cannot change the past, although we must never forget it, but we can change the future. Remember – we are a miracle.


If the media does not inform us we must inform the media

Facebook      Sheila Silver Raviv
Involvement The Yuri Shtern Holistic Center