26 April 2009
Last Tuesday night and Wednesday morning Jews commemorated those who fell during the Holocaust of World War II. Various events and observances took place through the day, some with a basis in Jewish tradition, such as saying Qaddish, lighting candles, closing some businesses, and memorializing the fallen through story telling, and some without any basis in Jewish tradition, such as standing for a siren and laying wreaths.
It is not my intention to enter the debate over which kinds of observances are appropriate, and which kinds are not.
There is also an ongoing debate as to whether a day of such observances in addition to Fast of the Fifth Month (9 b'Av) and the Fast of the Tenth Month (10 b'Teveth) is even necessary.
It is not my intention to enter this debate either.
It is my intention to address the issue of memorials in general.
Memorials are important. They are important for us as a community to remember and to relive the grieving; they are important for us as community who hopes and prays that Holocausts will not reoccur.
Memorials, however, are not enough. They are not sufficient for our community's healing nor its psychological and spiritual growth; they are not sufficient to prevent the next holocaust. Living memorials, survivors recounting their stories and the stories of those who fell are not enough. Giant memorial buildings, costing millions of dollars are not enough, no matter how many times someone walks through them, and experiences their impressive, educational programs, and some of them are impressive.
But how many Holocaust survivors tell us to lives Jewish lives, and to avoid living a life of assimilation?
How many Holocaust museums have audio-visual presentations deemed at preventing intermarriage?
How many members of such museums' boards believe that these issues are relevant in a Holocaust memorial?
How many members of such museums' boards are married to non-Jews?!What if only 75% of the cost to build U. S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, had actually been used to build it, and the other 25% was used for Holocaust prevention programs? What about 10%? What about even 5%?
What if Holocaust Memorial observances were inserted even more prominently into obervances of the Fasts of the Fifth and Tenth Months, and 27 Nissan was turned into "Holocaust Prevention Day," filled with programs geared toward educating Jews of the importance of marrying only Jews and living a Jewish life, and not an assimilated one?
What if there were Jews besides me who actually believed that there was a need for such a day?
What if there were Jews besides me who can see that a Second Holocaust is already in progress, much like Laban HaArami had intended (Intermarriage),* or like the Helenist Jews had intended (Assimilation)?
*Genesis Ch. 29-31, Passover Hagadah
Cross-posted on Esser Agaroth.
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