To my dear friends Howard and Margot, Dow and Fredzia and so many others:
I think about you often, but my heart is with you especially today – on Yom Ha’shoah V’ha’gevurah, Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day.
Each of you survived the Holocaust and made it through those terrible years. Each of you has your own unique story of war, struggle, anguish and survival. And each of you has not merely “survived” – each has gone on to create lives of meaning and purpose, gratitude and love.
You are the epitome of the definition of ‘resilience’. You exemplify by how you live your lives that ‘good’ will triumph over ‘evil’ and that the human spirit cannot be broken. And you show us how an affirmation of God’s presence during difficult times brings us strength and courage to persevere.
You help us to understand that we must use our voices to speak out against racism and against evil. We must be the ones to ensure that ‘never again’ will the world experience such unspeakable heinous acts committed against our fellow human beings.
The world still has its share of hatred and violence and evil. There are those who exist who do not acknowledge that every human being is made “b’tzelem Elohim” – in the image of God. And they choose to try to harm, hurt or destroy those they view as “less than human.” But you are the inspiration that we do have the ability to affect change. We have the power to use our voices, our deeds and actions to eradicate the evil in our midst. As Elie Wiesel said: “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides.”
Tonight we will light candles in memory of those who perished. We will remember in silence, we will reflect, we will pray.
And then inspired by you – and in memory of those who perished, we will continue to work to change our world.
Zichronam livracha – may their memories be for a blessing.