Preserving Memory & Building a Brighter Future
My grandmother, Buba Zina, is a 96-year-old Holocaust survivor. My 10-year-old son, particularly curious by nature, is asking lots of questions about the war, the Holocaust, Nazis, and the suffering that his great-grandmother must have endured. Although her mental faculties would not have been able to attend to his curiosity, our planned family trip to Australia for Pesach would have given my son the opportunity to be in the presence of his great-grandmother. He could have confronted her past and his history in real time.
In the midst of this pandemic, many elderly—among them many survivors of the Shoah—are dying. This painful fact is a stark reminder for me that my children are of the last generation to come into contact with those who survived the greatest catastrophe to befall our people and humanity.
As Jewish educators, we make the dual commitment to both remember our past and ensure that we build a future based on what our history has taught us.
For many of our children, the magnitude of the 6 million is too enormous to grasp. That is why we are obligated to remember the one plus one plus one plus one….
Despite the challenges of social distancing, there are many ways to observe Yom Hashoah this year. Museums like Yad Vashem and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum are hosting virtual commemorations. To find more online events, check out Together We Remember's Virtual Events Calendar.
On this Yom HaShoah, may we all commit ourselves to remembering the single story of a victim or survivor of the Holocaust to ensure not only that we are preserving their memory, but that we and our children are committing ourselves to building a brighter tomorrow.
David Bryfman is the CEO of The Jewish Education Project.