Saturday, April 21

Yom haShoa

Yom Hashoa.
I have too many thoughts about Yom Hashoa to write in one entry, having the image of my grandfather sitting at his old kitchen table, sleeve rolled above his elbow and that awful blue number there for all to see.  I have seen the number on my grandmother's arm also, but not as often or as prominently.  With both of them, it was part of their identity - though only Bubby talks about what she went through, and we only heard Zeidi's story on the  Shoa Visual History interview tape.  (Thank you, Steven Spielberg!)

The name of the day - Yom Hashoa V'Hagevura was passed as a law in 5719, but the day itself started being marked by the Knesset  in 5711, 3 years into the existence of the State of Israel.  However, the Rabbanut had already, 2 years earlier, set Asara b'Tevet as the Yom haKaddish haKlali for Jews killed in the  holocaust whose "yahrzeits" are unknown.  In the best Jewish tradition, there is a mahloket regarding marking Yom Hashoa in the month of Nissan.  I find it amusing / annoying when people are willing to grow  a sefira beard in Nissan but not mark Yom Hashoa.  24,000 tzaddikim is a huge tragedy, but over six million  tzadikim(6,000,000), including one and half million children (1,500,000) massacred, is beyond any scope or measure of horror!!

To my mind, the choice of the Israeli establishment at the time to focus on the fighting  and acts of rebellion against the nazis by Jews during the holocaust - Yom haShoa v'haGevura, is, in any case, not unsuitable for Nissan.  We mourn the holocaust on Asara b'Tevet  and with special kinnot on Tish'a b'Av.  On 27th Nissan, we recall the heroism of every Jew who tried to survive, forfeited his life for another, escaped,  tried to escape, encouraged another to live another day, tried to inform the uninterested world, and those whose heroism is expressed in the life they re-created after the holocaust.
Last year, the 6 memorial torches at Yad vaShem were lit by Survivors together with their grandchildren.  How I wish Bubby could have come here to light with Pesach, her oldest great-grandson, at the time a soldier in OUR ARMY.

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