This message is being composed on April 21st of 2020, coinciding this year with Yom Hashoah. At a time in our lives when we have been forced to pause, we have time to contemplate what gives us meaning and purpose. Jews around the world recognize that today our thoughts are about “never forgetting” and “never losing hope for a better tomorrow.” These two ideas, inspired by our Holocaust observances, still have much to teach us. This is the perfect time for Holocaust-themed reading. Find ideas at this URJ source.
Another way that we can learn about strength and hope is to listen to survivor testimonials. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has survivor reflections and testimonies.
This year, of course, all Yom Hashoah observances were held virtually. Usually, in Israel there is a state ceremony at Yad Vashem, and additional ceremonies at army bases and in local communities. This year many of the establishments which close on Yom Hashoah, such as places of entertainment, are already shuttered. At 10:00 am on this day each year an air raid siren sounds off throughout the country, all traffic stops and pedestrians stand in place as Israelis observe two minutes of silent reflection.
This year as all of us face unprecedented challenges, here, in Israel and around the world, we know that hope alone will not solve our problems. Yet lessons of memory and hope can give us strength to endure and continue working toward a better tomorrow.