Wednesday, 27 January 2016

For me, it is Yom Ha'Shoah


This week, the world marks the International Holocaust Memorial Day. I am grateful to the wide recognition and acknowledgement of the suffering of many, Jews and non-Jews who died in that sad chapter of human history. I pray that mankind learns the proper lessons from its past mistakes and prevents them from repeating them. On this day, I hear and read “Never Again,” the motto of Jew and Gentile alike and I continue to hope.

Here in Israel, we commemorate that appalling and not so distant past on the 27th day of the month of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar. We call it Yom Ha’shoah.  

Personally, it is that day, not the International one, that bears a deep meaning for me. It is the day that sends quivers through my spine. It is the day that strums the inner chords of my essence and pulsates at the point that only one like myself, a Jew, a daughter of two Shoah survivors can understand.

And before anyone rushes to accuse me of holding myself at a higher level than the rest, let me explain.

The memories of my childhood in the young nascent state of Israel, growing up under the shadow of the Shoah, under the loving care of two broken souls who had barely escaped the inferno, is what has given me that insight and a greater greater awareness of the magnitude of that episode in our history. Being raised on stories about Moishele, and Avreimaleh, Reuveleh and Shulamiskeh, innocent souls whose life was taken at a young tender age is what has bestowed upon me the gift to grasp and appreciate the extent of the atrocious nature of the Shoah.  I share so much with these individuals. Like me, they spoke Yiddish, a language soaked with humour, with mentchlichkyite ( humanness) and Yidishkayit (Jewishness). Like me, they heard Yiddish lullabies and bedtime stories about Biblical and Jewish heroes, the threads that connected their fate with mine.

They were all my family, the family I never got to meet, yet heard so much about. Their fresh memory is tattooed not on my arm but on my heart. They appear in my dreams at night and shine their eternal blessing on our people during the day. Their blood which runs in the rivers of Jewish history cleanses our Jewish Spirit and gives us the strength and the tenacity to go on living.

For many of us, Jews and Israelis, Yom Ha'Shoah is not merely about “Never Again” but rather about Remembering and Reminding. For how can one vow “Never Again,” if one fails to remember what one should never forget and never repeat? 


  1. Thank you, Batzi. Your tone is moving without being mawkish, and that is not a simple accomplishment, not with a subject that basically defies articulation. I liked your essay very much. ♥

    1. Thank you, Jesse. Truly appreciate your support and always <3

    2. You're are welcome. As always, I have the utmost respect for you and what you do.

    3. Thank you, Jesse. Coming from you, it is the utmost of compliments. Bless you always , my friend <3

    4. This is EXACTLY how I feel too and with the same way of reasoning, I`ve come to the same conclusion ...... -there`s also plenty of anti-zionists coming forth with grand and often phony declarations of support for our Am Yisra`el on the international holocaust remembrance day on January 27th using that as a fig-leaf trying to hide their true, negative positions regarding our Jewish people ..... -Yom HaShoah is ours and will remain so !

    5. Thank you, Judah. The Shoah is our private corner, the world can remember it the way it wishes but it will never be the way we do. Shabbat Shalom, my dear friend <3

  2. To me, I remember people in my apartment building who were Holocaust survivors, but being so young, it never really interested me. I was younger than 11 when we moved out of that neighborhood. Now, however, I think back and remember the jeweler who gave me my first watch as a bar-mitzvah present, the counterman at the local deli who taught me how to prepare a platter of cold cuts and some of my grandparents' friends who all had very Eastern European last names. But what is more important now that I understand is the courage they had in order to survive and the way they loved each other and their children. The best way we can honor them is to live our lives to the fullest and never submit again to the haters and the bigots.We must always defend ourselves and never bow our heads again.