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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
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Anne Frank and Florida’s Latest Teen Rage

Trivialization of the Holocaust has reached new lows.

Trivialization of the Holocaust has reached new lows.

First, I would like to thank Matt Drudge for helping promote the “latest teen rage in Florida” news story to thousands more viewers. May you merit to promote much more light and truth in the future in health and happiness.

Responding with Education

As stated by the rabbis in the video clip, the take home lesson from the story is that we need to step up our activities to educate. If the Holocaust was “trivialized,” as one of the rabbis said, then we need redouble our efforts to reveal the light of truth. As a little light dispels a great amount of darkness, so too, while the original story may have made “trivial” something most serious, we should view these events as a call to action to increase acts of goodness.

There are many good responses to dark stories such as these. The first is to hold education workshops and events to educate teenagers (and others) about how real and serious the Holocaust was. Bringing testimonies from survivors, film footage, and other educational material is useful to this approach. But I would like to now suggest a second approach to supplement the first.

Diamonds in the Rough

Unfortunately, there is no shortage of antisemitism in the world. But rarely does an antisemitic social media post “go viral” such as this one. As explained in previous articles, according to Jewish thought, the reason why stories go viral is because of some buried point of truth. It is this spark that first attracted the public to the story to begin with. Like a diamond in the rough, the challenge is to isolate and extract that shimmering spark from amidst the coal.

Our first exercise then is to isolate the “diamond” from the story. Once redeemed and removed from exile among its dark environs, then the “game” will immediately lose its luster and attraction. Like a shadow, once the light is turned on, the darkness disappears.

The light exiled within the “game” is the mention of the Jewish people in general, and in particular, the exalted soul of Anne Frank. In the “game,” it was deemed unfair that Anne’s cup be able to hide away from the pursuers. Therefore, there are two fundamental holy concepts being presented within a dark setting. The first is that Anne Frank was chosen as the representative “hider” of the Jewish people. And the second is that “hiding” was deemed “too powerful.”

Knowing the Facts

Before moving forward with our “second” approach, it is imperative that students first know the actual story of Anne Frank’s life as well as details about the Holocaust. But as Anne Frank’s diary is required reading in many high schools, our suggestion is primarily to provide a supplement to that initial reading and classroom discussion about the Holocaust.

Specifically, our campaign at present is to promote the light that has been unjustly exiled with this “game.” To respond to the recent events by holding events of our own (even assemblies in school auditoriums) to explain in-depth who Anne Frank was, and why “hiding” is indeed such a powerful thing.

An Exalted Soul

What is now presented in brief is explained at length in Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh’s essay “Dear Anne Frank…” Anyone seeking to publicly respond to these events, by promoting the light of truth, is encouraged to carefully read through that essay. But in short, let’s discuss some key points explained there.

The primary contention behind the game is that it has trivialized, even fictionalized, the Holocaust into a mode of entertainment. Since it is specifically Anne Frank that has been fictionalized into the “game,” this then is the first tikkun (spiritual correction) we can make. To quote from the article:

About the Author: Yonatan Gordon is a student of Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh, and writes on his personal blog at CommunityofReaders.org.


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