I also say the Yizkor several times a year, and I meditate over the segment remembering my family members who were killed by the Germans, the Poles, the Ukrainians, the Lithuanians, the Latvians, and all the other gentile beasts may their names and memory be erased.
These dates work for me because they’re real, they’re not state-funded, they’re just a bunch of Jews getting up in shul and talking to God. I don’t care what Ashton or Peres, or Netanyahu, or the players and coaches of the Miami Dolphins have to say about my loss. I only care about what God Himself and my holy brothers and sisters in shul have to say. Only they matter in this context.
I know I can’t make these politicians stop their Holocauster rides. It’s what they do. But the fact that Ashton et al are no longer sprinkling my zeidi’s ashes while doing the Holo—that’s gotta’ be a good thing.
I just have to end with an anecdote, because otherwise you’d think I’m way too grim for your Wednesday morning breakfast read. I’ve been told this by a colleague at the CCAR, so I believe it, but you can go check for yourselves:
Every summer, the high school seniors of the Reform movement take a trip to Israel. They see the sites, work on a kibbutz, bathe in the Mediterranean, it’s a fun thing. On their way back to America, they stop in Poland and visit the Auschwitz death camp. It kinda works out nicely from a historic prospective: they experience our renewal and then they can appreciate what it was like before.
In 2000, during the second intifada, many Reform parents were concerned about sending their kids to Israel. The roads weren’t safe, people were getting blown up everywhere, you don’t send your kids into something like that.
So the movement canceled the Israel part of the vacation and they only went to Auschwitz.