Holocaust Remembrance Day


On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, there are speeches, ceremonies and the like but here in Israel, we mark this day in the spring. A siren wails over the entire country and everybody stops what they are doing, pulls over their cars and bows their heads. The whole country goes silent, save for the siren, for 2 minutes. If you've never seen a whole country standstill (as tiny as this country is!) it is something that will jar you.


Gidon's father, great-grandmother, and three grandparents perished in death camps: Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Buchenwald. How do you mark this day when it is marked every day in the absence of the generations?


The other day when Gidon and I were at an outdoor market in an Arab-Israel village, we remarked to one another at the number of smiles and "excuse me's", "thank you" and "you're welcomes" that we heard in both Hebrew and Arabic. Coexistence is possible.


How can you be a part of #neveragain? You don't have to memorize the names of the concentration camps or be able to define "Einsatzgruppen" but you should know that the Holocaust happened on the streets, in forests, in courtrooms and in death camps. It happened in classrooms, in conversations and in retributions and in book burnings. It doesn't always look as dramatic as you think, in other words, but the consequences as we know, are devastating.


It is entirely possible that it can happen again - unless you make opportunities to meet and talk to the "other", whether they are black, white, Evangelical, Jewish, Muslim, LGBTQ, immigrants, elderly, physically or mentally handicapped. Talk to someone you wouldn't normally talk to. Ask questions about their point of view. Don't let politics separate us. Don't let others be dehumanized.

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