Sunday, April 7, 2013

Yom HaShoah 2013

Every year I watch the ceremony at Yad VaShem in Jerusalem,  in memory of the six million who were murdered by the Nazis in World War II.  Every year I cry, but not for the reasons you might think.

I cry in awe of the bravery of the Jews who left their parents, who jumped off the Death Trains or hid in piles of dead bodies, who assumed false identities so they could help from the outside or joined the Partisans in the forest, never to see their families again.

I cry in wonderment of the Righteous Among the Gentiles, those who took in wounded Jews, healed them and hid them at the risk of their own lives.  These courageous people saved one man or woman, thus allowing them to marry, and see their family flourish. 

Save one person, save the world.

I cry in joy when the six Holocaust survivors represent their dwindling population and light the six torches, because they stand there alive and actively living, with the fire of life handed to them by one of their grandchildren, in the State of Israel.  One of the torch bearers said it best last night, with a twinkle in his eyes;  that after all he did to survive the Nazi atrocity, he sits in Israel happy, surrounded by children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. 

This is the Jewish victory. Never forget, never again!

I also feel extremely lucky and blessed after bearing witness to these stories, after honoring these souls.  After the program last night, I could not help but tip-toe into Raphaela's room and watch her sleep, knowing that she is safe with me, and in the Land of the Jewish People.

This year, as we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, we remind that world that the Jews did fight back, that we were not then nor are we today "lambs to the slaughter."

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