Jerusalem, Yom HaShoah Remembered Here

As Yom Hashoah,

Holocaust Remembrance Day, began in Israel,

 US Secretary of State John Kerry was in the Middle East

again meeting with Abbas,

and

 Kassam rockets were again fired from Gaza into Israel.

While a select few attended the main ceremony at Yad Vashem,

thousands watched it live on television as

President Shimon Peres began his speech:

“The Holocaust will not sink into the dark hole of history.

It is here with us, burning, real…

Yom Hashoah picture, Holocaust photo

It floats like a ghost in the barracks of the camps.”

How does one choose a meaningful way to mark Yom Hashoah?

Image for Holocaust Remembrance

This sign on the wall outside of the Great Synagogue

Holocaust sign in Hebrew

and its counterpart in Hebrew shone brightly in the dark.

Israeli Knesset at night

The flag on the Knesset Building was lowered.

Restaurants closed their doors and locked their gates by 8:00 pm.

Where does one go?

This year Israel Forever, Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Jerusalem Municipality

Holocaust remembrance day

sponsored an event that attracted hundreds of young people. 

Picture from Holocaust

After a slide presentation and slow music, 

photo of lighting candles Yom Hashoah

six large candles were lit

photo candle for Holocaust program

 in memory of the six million who died.

Crowd for Adopt a Safta

Then there was a minute of silence,

slowly and silently, the overcrowded,

Crowd for Holocaust program

 packed audience spontaneously rose to their feet.

It was an impressive sight.

The room was so quiet that one could hear a pin drop.

The Facebook advert brought in hundreds of  young people 

Holocaust remembrance day

who wanted to take part in a meaningful way.

The Adopt a Safta program was then presented to the audience.

It could be an important “link” that President Peres spoke of,

a link of the generations, beneficial to all.

Yom Hashoah, here in Jerusalem, Israel

was a time to remember.

Picture of Yellow star Jews had to wear

Never again.

Two Different Worlds

In many parts of the world books may be going out of style, 

but in Jerusalem book launches happen all the time.

People come to buy the book,

 hear the author talk about it and stand in line to have it autographed.

One such event–of exceptional proportions–took place this week, 

when former Chief Rabbi Yisroel Meir Lau came to Jerusalem

to introduce the English translation of his autobiography,

entitled, “Out of the Depths.”

A long line formed as people waited for an hour to have

Rabbi Lau sign their book before the 8:00pm lecture was to begin.

Rabbi Lau spoke in English in the main sanctuary of The Great Synagogue,

where he pointed to the spot where in 1993 he was sworn in as chief rabbi.

He told the audience of his childhood during World War II:

how as a small five-year old, he lost family and home.

A thousand people listened as he told of the trauma of his mother 

pushing him away from her, off the train and to certain death,

towards his older brother and a chance to live. 

From the depths of the Buchenwald concentration camp

he arrived in Eretz Yisroel after the war, an eight-year old with no education,

but was able to continue the long line of his family’s rabbinic dynasty.

As Rabbi Lau spoke I was thinking of a different world.

We were travelling in and out of Jerusalem a few times this week

and each time we had to wait as cars were searched.

Sometimes the person at the front of the line had his papers examined.

Today an Arab woman was found trying to get in a 30 cm knife,

yesterday 19 pipe bombs were found before they could be used.

Dozens of medical cases came into Israel this week and

 88,000 flowers from Gaza were exported through Israel.

Leaving the building, 

if you look to the right you will see this sign.

The survivors of the Holocaust lived through the worst of times,

from less than nothing, they went on to build new lives and families.

The world has given millions and millions of dollars to the PA,

 what have they built?

More photos from the book signing:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.306051199437692.70628.152997821409698&type=1