Thursday, April 4, 2013

We Will Not Forget - Yom HaShoah

This year Yom HaShoah 2013 begins in the evening of
Sunday, April 7
and ends in the evening of
Monday, April 8

O God of Israel, we remember the countless numbers of our people who have suffered unspeakable agonies and death. Some were silent sufferers, some rebelled, all were murdered. Some are still remembered by friends and loved ones, others have vanished with no earthly remembrance. We plead that You will remember all of them, that you will hold them in Your heart, that they will find their peace with You.
God of our fathers and mothers, our eyes are now witnesses for the suffering of Israel; our hearts have been torn as we mourn for our people. We will not forget one single thing, not forget to the last generation, lest we ignore threats to our people and all human degradation, or we’ve learned nothing, nothing at all.

On Yom Hashoah we remember.
We remember the young and the old...the 6 million. One and a half million children. Can you imagine. Wiping out 6 million Jews, and all of European culture, because they were guilty of...being different?
We remember what happens when hate takes over the heart.
We remember what happens when humanity turns away.
But we also remember those who who saved lives, and gave so many hope. They were the Righteous Gentiles who helped save people from death camps, and hid them, risking their own lives. 
We cannot go back. We cannot change the past.
We remember all that was lost. We must teach our children.

You who live secure
In your warm houses
Who return at evening to find Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider whether this is a man, Who labours in the mud
Who knows no peace
Who fights for a crust of bread Who dies at a yes or a no. Consider whether this is a woman, Without hair or name
With no more strength to remember Eyes empty and womb cold
As a frog in winter.
Consider that this has been:
I commend these words to you.
Engrave them on your hearts
When you are in your house,
when you walk on your way,
When you go to bed, when you rise. Repeat them to your children.
Or may your house crumble,
Disease render you powerless,
Your offspring avert their faces from you.
—Primo Levi 

"For us, in our time, we must confront bigotry and hatred in all of its forms, racism, especially anti-Semitism.  None of that has a place in the civilized world -- not in the classrooms of children; not in the corridors of power.  And let us never forget the link between the two.  For our sons and daughters are not born to hate, they are taught to hate.  So let us fill their young hearts with the same understanding and compassion that we hope others have for them.

Here we hope.  Because after you walk through these halls, after you pass through the darkness, there is light -- a glorious view of the Jerusalem Forest, with the sun shining over the historic homeland of the Jewish people; a fulfillment of the prophecy: “you shall live again…upon your own soil.”  Here, on your ancient land, let it be said for all the world to hear:  The State of Israel does not exist because of the Holocaust.  But with the survival of a strong Jewish State of Israel, such a Holocaust will never happen again." - President Barack Obama, on his March 2013 visit to Yad Vashem

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