Yesterday was Yom Hashoah. And while our blog had minimal coverage of the day, that doesn’t mean that people around the world weren’t commemorating and remembering the victims of the Holocaust. That includes, of course, all the kids from around the world who converged on Poland this week with the March of the Living to visit the camps before heading to Israel for Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut.
Thanks to YouTube though, we can get a taste of what they experienced yesterday almost instantaneously. The Montreal delegation of the March was very smart to bring along a videographer who has been filming and upload videos and interviews of the kids’ experiences.
Here is their latest video that they filmed while visiting Auschwitz:
Sometimes when I need to laugh I search for Jewish in Google News. Often I get boring articles about Israel, but every once in a while I get a gem of a headline like this one:
You really need to read the entire article, but here are my two favorite paragraphs:
Miss Feld claims that her brother’s vendetta against her led to his ordering guards to throw her and her toy poodle Campari out of their Aunt Shirley’s penthouse in Washington, where they were brought up after their mother’s suicide.
In papers sent to the court, Miss Feld also alleges that her brother may be a member of ‘Jewish mafia’ involved in money laundering and murder.
Will someone please please option this story for a screenplay? I would pay so much money to go see this movie. Water for Elephants, not so much.
Pulpit Rabbi Marci N. Bellows talks about allowing her congregation to friend her on Facebook, finding “something close to “I-Thou” moments” in the process. (Jewish Week)
The new Reform head says that most temples rely on a “please walk in, please walk in” approach, which no longer works, and that synagogues need to serve even those Jews who are not members. (Ha’aretz)
A synagogue is used as a setting for filming a book trailer for the newly-released novel, “The Unforgotten Prayer,” about a former Nazi SS officer who goes into hiding in the United States and is befriended by a young Jewish family. (Murrieta Patch)
More rabbis in the later stages of their careers are finding themselves out of work, and that’s not the only evidence that “We’re seeing the end of the rabbinate as we know it.” (Jewish Week)
It is argued that the procedures used by Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative movements for placing rabbis in congregations are violations of federal antitrust law, in addition to being foolish. (TabletMag)
Newsweek‘s “50 Most Influential Rabbis in America” shows a big jump in women- to 13. (Daily Beast)
The ordination of Kaya Stern-Kaufman as “rabba” raises the question of whether creating a gender for the word ‘rabbi’ is legitimate. (Jewish Week)
After the death of Osama bin Laden was announced, this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., began circulating:
“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.”
At the Atlantic, Megan McArdle hunted down the source of the quote. Unsurprisingly, it was not Dr. King, but an anonymous Internet opportunist.
It is, however, a really sweet thought. And, though it doesn’t have the ring of Martin Luther King-iness to it, it strikes me as a paraphrase of a great quote from the Book of Proverbs:
Rejoice not when thine enemy fall, and let not thy heart be glad when he stumble.
(Read the Proverb here in its original context, just to make sure I’m not making it up.)
This blog entry appears during the time that we mark Yom HaShoah. It is also the time of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. I am reminded of a small article which appeared on the front page [upper half] of the New York Times on April 22nd 1943. The article read as follows:
The secret Polish radio appealed for help tonight in a broadcast from Poland and then suddenly the station went dead. The broadcast as heard here said: The last 35,000 Jews in the Warsaw ghetto have been condemned to execution. Warsaw is echoing with musketry volleys.
The people are murdered. Women and children defend themselves with their naked arms.
I am also reminded of some of those who buried the Oyneg Shabbes archival collection which documented the destruction. [The following material appears in Sam Kassow’s magisterial book, Who Will Write Our History?] Israel Lichtenstein wrote on the day he buried the archives:
I do not ask for any thanks, for any memorial, for any praise. I only wish to be remembered…. I wish my wife to be remembered, Gele Sekstein. She has worked during the war years with children as an educator and teacher, has prepared stage sets, costumes of children’s theatre… both of us get ready to meet and receive death. I wish my little daughter to be remembered. Margalit is 20 months old today. She has fully mastered the Yiddish language and speaks it perfectly… I don’t lament my own life or that of my wife. I pity only this little nice and talented girl. She too deserves to be remembered.
With Lichtenstein on that day was Nahum Grzywacz who was 18 years old. When they were burying the archives he heard his parents’ building was being blockaded. He wrote:
I am going to run to my parents and if they are all right. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me. Remember my name is Nahum Grzywacz. [emphasis in original]
Also present was David Graber who was 19. As they buried the archives, Graber wrote:
What we were unable to cry and shriek out the world we buried in the ground. … We shall certainly not live to see it, and therefore I write my last will: May the treasure fall into good hands, may it last into better times, may it alarm and alert the world to what happened… in the twentieth century. We now died in peace. We fulfilled our mission. May history attest for us. [emphasis added]
None of these people seem to contemplate the possibility of survival. They hungered to be remembered.
May the history we write, read, and remember attest for them. They have attested for themselves
Deborah Lipstadt’s most recent book, The Eichmann Trial, is now available.
Osama bin Laden is dead. Just to let you know, if you live under a rock or in a Luddite commune or something.
We’ll be writing the most notable pieces of information here. Keep visiting, and let us know in the comments if there’s something we should repost.
* A Twitter user named ReallyVirtual reported on the assault without knowing it. He’s a former IT professional who moved to Abbottabad, Pakistan and opened a coffeehouse. Yesterday he tweeted, “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)” — and we know the rest of the story now.
* J.J. Goldberg from the Forward says: “It feels strange to be celebrating someone’s death.”
* All the pages from today’s news: from the Newseum, of course.
* Rabbi Jason Miller writes that we found out about the assassination on Yom Hashoah — and notes that bin Laden’s assassination might have happened during Passover. (I don’t think it actually did, according to what we know now, but it’s interesting to think about.)
* On Facebook, the wise and sobering Yoni Gordis quotes Proverbs 24: “Do not rejoice at the fall of your enemy.”