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October 22, 2016 / 20 Tishri, 5777
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Judaic Studies class, Brooklyn College

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Question: Some critics feel the Holocaust has come to define Jewish identity in America and that it takes away from other aspects of Jewish life and culture. Agree?



No. The Holocaust represents just one of the many struggles we as a nation have faced. It’s good that we devote much time to commemorating the Holocaust – it shows the power of religion and faith, and it doesn’t take away from other aspects of Jewish culture.

– Janet Salem, student




Yes. People do tend to link Jewish identity with the Holocaust, but this is not a negative. Clearly, the message of the Holocaust hasn’t penetrated, since genocide is still with us – we say “Never Again,” but we see that other people are facing extermination. The Holocaust needs to be a part of our Jewish identity – there is nothing wrong with that.

– Joseph Setto, student



No. I feel not enough attention is paid to the Holocaust. Commemorating the Holocaust shouldn’t be done just once a year. The Holocaust didn’t happen such a long time ago and we are already forgetting about it. The generation that went through it is dwindling, and what will future generations know about it? I don’t think the Holocaust has become the central Jewish experience; the exodus from Egypt and the founding of the state of Israel, to mention just two examples, are at least as important to Jewish identity as the Holocaust.

– Faigy Stein, student




No. The Holocaust may be associated with Jewish identity, but it doesn’t define us as a people. We need to introduce the history of the Holocaust from an early age while we still have survivors who are alive and can share their memories with us. We also need to learn from the Holocaust in order to be more sensitive to other acts of genocide.

– Aviva Weiss, student

Ita Yankovich

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