Photo Credit: Jewish Press

We make spaces and time holy. The balance of the two has enabled Jewish continuity. A remarkable holy space is the small room converted into a shul in the Theresienstadt ghetto. Standing in the space, one can only imagine what the parishioners would be praying for. Visitors contemplate how they could even paint the words displayed on the wall: Uvechol zot shimcha lo shachachnu, na al tishkacheinu – through everything we have not forgotten your name, please do not forget us. A picture of Shabbat candles on one wall, the symbol of the start of the holiest part of the week, static, always lit, the room always welcoming Shabbat in the limited way it could – a picture, not candles.

It was on the last moed that our world fell apart, terrorists tortured and kidnapped our brothers and sisters. Did we imagine that we would approach this moed of Pesach with them still in captivity? In some ways we are all stuck in that time, and also so much time has passed. Our holy spaces and times infused with the tragedy, Tehillim in shul, empty seats at the table, tears as we light Shabbat candles. New rituals forming. What new meaning will the liturgy of the Seder bring? Vehi She’amda, in every generation. I never thought it would be in mine.

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Dr. Pesha Kletenik is the head of school of Manhattan Day School after two decades of experience in Jewish education. She holds a Doctorate in Education from Hofstra University, a Master’s in School Psychology from Touro Graduate School and is a student in the Fish Center for Holocaust Studies at Yeshiva University. She writes about parenting and Jewish education and lives in West Hempstead with her husband and three children.