Monday, May 2, 2011

Letter from Netanya: Jan Gaines on Erev Yom Hashoah

Dear Friends,
This is the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day. This evening we will have a somber and heart wrenching commemoration, focusing on 70 years since Babi Yar.
Babi Yar, where in TWO DAYS of killing, 38,000 Jews perished. That was a higher murder rate even than Auschwitz, which was 10,000 Jews murdered PER DAY.
Each year I participate in our commemoration which is a dramatic reading of the details of each Nazi murder site. For Babi Yar, descriptions of Jews buried alive, thrown into the pit still alive, the brutality of the Germans and their Ukrainian cohorts in killing babies.
And I look around and see that nothing has changed!!! Jews are hated and threatened with extinction. Babies are slaughtered- - -the 3 month old Fogel baby which the murderers missed in their first round of killing, but heard the baby crying so went back into the house and stabbed the baby to death!!
Not nice to hear, is it? I don't like writing these things but this is our history and our reality today.
Then the question becomes, how do we deal with it?
Each of us has that conflict to resolve. Do we try to have the haters recognize our humanity as well as theirs? Some people take that path. Or do we reject the haters and take to our guns?
A terrible dilemma for a people essentially committed to peace and "brotherhood".
Here in Israel the dilemma is face forward, every day. Our kids in the army, our shelters cleaned out, our southern towns and cities readying for missile defense, our countrywide defense preparations ongoing with a full scale rehearsal in June nationwide. And the return of our gas masks; easy, just pick them up at the post office!!
How do Israelis do it? How do they live like this?
My neighbor always reminds me of the answer. " Every threat makes us stronger, every call for our extinction makes us more determined to survive. Each of us is a small world of strong will, and with the intersection of each of our worlds, we will never be defeated."
Jan G

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