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Do We Still Need Yom HaShoah?

The commemorative day is confusing and arbitrary. Let’s find a more meaningful alternative.

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Congress and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum hold a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda on April 15, 2010, in Washington, D.C. (Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images)
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Today is the 60th anniversary of Yom HaShoah, the Jewish Holocaust Remembrance Day. In Israel, it will be observed as usual, with speeches by the president and prime minister and a nationwide 2-minute period of silence. But many American Jews will commemorate the holiday—if they are even aware of it—with a collective shrug. Not only are there no set rituals with which to observe it, but it may even have outlasted its purpose.

In 1953, when Yom HaShoah was officially established by the Israeli government, the world was only beginning to comprehend the enormity of the Holocaust. The emigration of survivors en masse from the European displaced-persons camps had ended only the year before. Most of the literature that was essential in conveying the human impact of the events had yet to appear. Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz would not be widely read until the late 1950s; Elie Wiesel’s Night was not published until 1958.

Part of the impetus behind the creation of Yom HaShoah was practical: Religious Jews needed a rabbinically sanctioned day to say kaddish and light memorial candles for relatives who had perished under Hitler’s regime, whose dates of death were often unknown. But in the fledgling Israeli state, the question of how to incorporate the Holocaust into the narrative of the Jewish people was also of existential significance. To absorb it, as some initially suggested, into the already established religious days of mourning—which collectively commemorate the destruction of the Temple and the fall of Jerusalem—would implicate the Holocaust in an ancient narrative of sin and repentance. It was morally repugnant, of course, to suggest that the Jews of Europe were in some way spiritually responsible for their own destruction. But in addition, the founders of Israel were invested in a vision of Jews as pioneering and powerful, rather than victims led “like sheep to the slaughter,” as the popular terminology cruelly put it.

For these reasons, the Holocaust could not be commemorated in tandem with any of the other fast days already on the Jewish calendar: It demanded its own day. But when? One natural choice—the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which corresponds to the Hebrew date of 15 Nisan—falls during Passover, making it off-limits. Mordechai Nurock, the Israeli member of parliament who proposed the establishment of Yom HaShoah, suggested 27 Nisan instead as a date that “coincides with most of the slaughter of European Jewry.” In 1953, the Yad Vashem Memorial Authority was assigned to officially inaugurate the national remembrance day. By the end of the decade, a law was passed establishing the two minutes of silence and other forms of observance, such as flying flags at half-mast.

During the 1980s and 1990s, at the height of public interest in the Holocaust in America, Yom HaShoah seemed to be gaining ground here as well. In 1989, nearly 5,000 people gathered in Manhattan’s Felt Forum for a commemorative service. In the 1990s, Jewish groups on college campuses often staged all-night vigils in which students would read the names of Holocaust victims.

But this trend is ebbing. A few years ago, I responded to a Brooklyn rabbi’s call for volunteers to read during a Yom HaShoah service and was told that the event had been canceled for lack of interest. This year, some of New York’s major cultural institutions, including the 92nd Street Y, will not mark Yom HaShoah at all. The events that still exist have a perfunctory nature: a speaker on a Holocaust-related topic, or perhaps a film. An informal survey I conducted of Jewish friends and acquaintances revealed that precisely none of them planned to observe Yom HaShoah in any way.

One reason Yom HaShoah may be confusing to Americans is that it is a secular Israeli holiday, not a religious holiday. Unlike the other significant days in the Jewish religious calendar, it is not attached to a specific liturgy or set of rituals. To many Jews, of course, it feels fundamentally incongruous to commemorate the Holocaust with a religious service. Wiesel, raised in an observant family, famously cast Night as a story of the loss of faith. And those who do wish to commemorate the holiday through ritual are not sure how. Light candles? And say what prayer, exactly? There are no guidelines for observing Yom HaShoah, either in synagogue or at home.

Another possible difficulty is the holiday’s essential arbitrariness. It might be different if it had been chosen to coincide with a historical anniversary, but as it stands there is something problematic about observing a memorial day that memorializes no particular event. Another option for commemoration is International Holocaust Remembrance Day—observed on January 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz—which was designated by the United Nations in 2005 and is observed throughout the European Union and often in the United States as well.

But there remains a fundamental dissonance in designating a single day for the commemoration of the largest genocide in human history, an event that unfolded over a dozen years and whose implications are still being wrestled with. The Holocaust was not a historical monolith: It is best understood as a constellation of events, from the establishment of the first Nuremberg laws in 1933 to the liberation of the last remaining camps in May 1945. Many of these events have sparked their own memorial activities: This year, for instance, the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht will be observed. Meanwhile, scholars continue to do important work that challenges the popular conception of the Holocaust as defined by the death camps: See Timothy Snyder’s recent book Bloodlands, which establishes the territories east of Poland as primary sites of mass murder, as well as the recent cataloguing of more than 42,000 ghettos and camps by the historians Geoffrey Megargee and Martin Dean.

Of course, it is only because the Holocaust has been so thoroughly assimilated into American culture that it is even possible to argue about how best to commemorate it. In the Arab world, where Holocaust denial continues to spread, the dissemination of basic facts and figures must take priority. Even in Berkeley, Calif., a Yom HaShoah vigil in 2002 was interrupted by a group of protesters who likened the killing of Palestinians to “Israeli genocide”—inadvertently demonstrating why clarity about the Holocaust is so essential.

The challenge, then, is to find meaningful ways of paying our respects to the tragedy. This year, I plan to continue my customary practice: I light a memorial candle and reflect on the history of my family, which includes many survivors. But I do so with the suspicion that such rituals have become obsolete. What we do to commemorate the Holocaust during the rest of the year is far more important.

***

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Poupic says:

I am ready to bet that Ruth Franklin knowing that Barack Hussein is an anti- Semite voted for him. That is how wooshy washy she sounds. With Jews like that, of course another Shoa is possible, after all her parents probably voted for FDR who closed the doors to part of my family that ended up in smoke. Yuck!

ihatemakingnewuserids says:

I respectfully disagree. America has Labor Day and Veterans Day, which are somewhat arbitrary with no religious practice. I don’t see why Yom HaShoah needs to be tied to a particular event.

I know of many American programs in my community involving speakers and videos. It is not obsolete.

The further we are away from the soot of human flesh and the last cries of our murdered people the more we need to remember. Tis sad when people write articles like this. Insofar as I can figure the Holocaust was an event as it had a beginning and thankfully an end.

bpuharic says:

What a despicable comment which trivializes the Shoah.

Austin says:

I think this day is needed as long as there are people around who believe the Shoah never happened.

Poupic says:

Saying that many US Jews voted for anti- Semites FDR and Barack Hussein is doing what? Trivialize the Shoa? Here are some facts: FDR by closing the door to European Jews participated in the effort of the Nazi’s to exterminate us including part of my family, my parents. I have no explanation as to why I survived beside luck. I wasn’t 10 yet at the end of the war.

Rashid Khalidi
Jeremiah Wright
Louis Farrakhan
William Ayers

Those are friends and advisers of Barack Hussein who wants to give away Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish nation and never an Arab one even when they controlled it for hundreds of years. Only an anti- Semite can have such friends and advisors

bpuharic says:

Obama is not an anti semite and saying he would allow another Shoah to happen is, as I said, a despicable and reprehensible lie for which you should be ashamed, if you had the moral sense to FEEL shame.

You trivialized the Shoah with such disgraceful sentiments.

bpuharic says:

Even those of us who are atheist gentiles know the value of remembering the Shoah. Unfortunately it has, in some sense, been repeated even after we knew what a horror it was. I don’t know what the solution is, other than to say we must always know it WAS a horror, committed by seemingly ordinary people.

Poupic says:

I gave you facts as to why Barack Hussein is anti- Semite. There is no need to invent something I did not say at all. Jews who voted for anti- Semite Obama should every Seder say “Next year in Al Quds’ instead of the two millennia “Next year in Jerusalem.” They have lost what it means to be a Jew for a long time voting again and again for anti- Semites.

Nola Baar says:

“Confusing” ? How much do we need to dumb-down things? Can Americans spend a few minutes a day thinking and making connections?
It would be good however if the nonesense about “Never again” were not spit out by leaders who are responsible to murder and destruction and suffering, like Obama with his drones killing civilians and his Social Security cuts which will make it more difficult for people who do not have Wall Street bankers as friends.

I disagree. I am one of many members of my congregation who stay up at all hours of the night to recite some of the names of the people in the Shoah, and each year we are joined by new members, often people who are too young to remember the victims. I also find it offensive for the author to say that “there is probably something problematic about observing a memorial day that memorializes no particular event.” Yom HaShoah does not memorialize any one event. It memorializes each and every person who perished due to the many horrific events that took place during WWII.

The author seems to be concerned more with ritual and marking historical events rather than with understanding that behind each of those names that is spoken during a Yom HaShoah commemoration, there lies an entire life and its corresponding story.

bpuharic says:

No you didn’t. You slandered a man with guilt by association. It’s like saying all Republicans are nazis because Ron Paul used to publish a newsmagazine that extolled the virtues of Christians over Jews, or because politicians from NC recently said that state could have Christianity as a state religion.

It’s indefensible. It’s a disgraceful lie for which you should be ashamed.

Reuven Hammer says:

Yom HaShoah has become a religious holy day for many. We in the Conservative/Masorti movement have certainly made it so and have specified the liturgical way in which it is to be commemorated. The creation of The Shoah Scroll provided a megilla to be read every Yom HaShoah and has proven effective in congregations throughout the world. Bringing the commemoration thus into synagogues and into the liturgical yearly cycle will keep this day alive.
Rabbi Reuven Hammer

Poupic says:

You need an education tsutsik! No non- anti- Semite would have made Wright his “spiritual mentor” for twenty year nor would have volunteered to help in the million men march when multitudes cheered every anti- Semitic rant of Farrakhan. Q.E.D. Barack Hussein is with no doubt an a flaming anti- Semite.

dizzyizzy says:

Anyone who read Obama’s Audacity of Hope would see that he viewed Israelis and Palestinians as moral equivalents. Whether or not the reader sees this as antisemitic is ideological. See http://clarespark.com/2009/09/11/oil-politics-and-obamas-view-of-israeli-history/. “Oil politics and Obama’s view of Israeli history.”

American Jews don’t just celebrate Yom Hashoah with a shrug, they celebrate Sukkot, Shavuot, Tisha B’Av and even Yom Kippur with a shrug.Indeed they celebrate their own Judaism with a shrug, evidence the rate of intermarriage. So perhaps the problem is not with the way Yom Hashoah is celebrated in America. Perhaps the problem is with American Jewry itself. Which is why those of us who choose to live in Israel choose to live in Israel where life is good, the economy thrives and we don’t have to worry about whether Yom Hashoah is understood. It’s time to stop flogging a dead horse. America is a wonderful place. But ultimately it is proving to be a graveyard for meaningful Jewish life.

I couldn’t disagree more with the Author. Yesterday, I attended a multi- generational Yom HaShoah event at my synagogue, The Jewish Center of the Hamptons. It’s ages ranged from survivors and their children to 5 th graders. We talked about the slaughter, the inhumanity, and the resistance. We read the names of congregants’ relatives who perished. We need to always bear witness to evil, and be vigilant in confronting its practitioners. As our children read the poems of Hanah Senes and letters from the Warsaw uprising, I thought that this was the ultimate FU to nazism, and that we are safe for another generation. Am Israel Chai!

Poupic says:

Obama’s view in fact is a re iteration of the Arabs’ narrative in his own words. His Cairo speech to Muslims is clear as can be. He even declared that misses the call to prayer by the Muezzin in early morning from his childhood in Indonesia. Barack Hussein has a soft spot for Islam at the very least. How else does on explain the Cairo speech following decades of friendship with anti- Semites and haters of Israel?

bpuharic says:

Again you’re distorting facts. The fact is, Obama’s been president for 4 years. Where are the ovens? Your hysteria merely shows how desperate you are to score political points by lying about a horrific event in human history.

You owe everyone, not just Obama, an apology. What a disgrace. And I notice your implicit racism, the prejudicial use of “Barack Hussein” coupled with your lies about his antisemitism shows the true nature of your charges.

bpuharic says:

So your proof that he’s an anti-semite is that he grew up in a Muslim nation. Wow. Slam the gavel. Guilty as charged!

I have no love for either Islam OR Christianity, but to say that the President is an anti-semite because he knew Muslims is another act of desperation.

If he WAS an anti-semite, you’d be able to show proof of it from his actions as the most powerful leader in the world. That you have to slither back into his college years and distort his past merely shows your oleaginous charges have no merit at all.

silverbackV says:

I think you survived because of the providence of YHWH, you survived to help keep the memory alive, you survived to warn people about complacency in where you place your trust. Pay absolutely no attention to the kool aid drinkers that align themselves with the liberals and/or progressives. Case in point, Ruth Franklin, bpuharic, et.al. They are joining the ranks of deniers one step at a time.

bpuharic says:

More lies and slander. It seems you’re so hysterical that ANY deviation from your party platform is enough to label others as nazis.

Again and again you trivialize a true horror…the Shoah…for your shallow political purposes.

Michael Lieber says:

I think Yom Hashoah is more useful. I pondered this yesterday when I was at a gun range. How much better to make the day have a point. Instead of remembrance and still more mourning, why not follow the example Israel has taught us. No more passive Jews.

Rabbi Reuven Taff says:

A Hasidic rabbi once said: “The secret of redemption lies in remembrance.” Only by remembering can we hope to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. The genocides and anti-Semitism since the Holocaust remind us that we still have not remembered hard enough. Last night in our city of Sacramento more than 1000 Jews and non-Jews gathered to hear Mark Rubin, one of 100 child survivors of Terezin share his story of survival. With all due respect to Ms. Franklin, I just do not see anything wrong with the abitrary decision of establishing the 27th Day of Nisan to commemorate the Holocaust. It is one day annually in which communities can come together regardless of their religious differences.

dizzyizzy says:

Is it not obvious that any upwardly mobile Jew would find it safer to align with the regnant “internationalist” UN and its Wilsonian idealism than to a bunch of stigmatized Eastern European Jews? Such are the rewards of assimilation. See my blog, linked above. There is no doubt about the United Nations and its frustration when Israel took casualties to create the Jewish state in 1948. (The Soviet Union was frustrated too when Israel aligned with the Western bloc, instead of showing gratitude for arms shipments from Czechoslovakia that helped the Israeli cause. Hence much left-wing resentment of the Jewish state today.)

Jacob Arnon says:

“In the Arab world, where Holocaust denial continues to
spread, the dissemination of basic facts and figures must take priority. Even
in Berkeley, Calif., a Yom HaShoah vigil in 2002 was interrupted by a group of
protesters who likened the killing of Palestinians to “Israeli
genocide”—inadvertently demonstrating why clarity about the Holocaust is so
essential.

The challenge, then, is to find meaningful ways of paying
our respects to the tragedy. This year, I plan to continue my customary
practice: I light a memorial candle and reflect on the history of my family,
which includes many survivors. But I do so with the suspicion that such rituals
have become obsolete. What we do to commemorate the Holocaust during the rest
of the year is far more important.”

The two claims while not contradictory are at cross
purposes: to argue that we need a meaningful commemoration of the Shoah
(Holocaust) isn’t the same as arguing that we need to debunk Holocaust denial.
If we want the commemoration of the Shoah than it needs to occur for its own
sake and not to counter-argue any denial of the tragic event.

Still, both events while not congruous are important. We
need to commemorate the Holocaust and to make ourselves and other aware of the
historical truth behind the term Holocaust.

I say ourselves because there is a tiny part of us, a small
voice in all of us, that want to deny the Holocaust, to make it seem that it’s
an historical truth not relevant to our present or future. The reason for that
internal small voice is that the Holocaust challenges our view of ourselves as
free agents invulnerable to the viscidities of history. There many voices
outside ourselves in this culture that aid and abet that internal whispering voice.

One of the ways of fighting that voice would be to fight
Holocaust revisionism and denial. What we, I believe, is not just a
commemoration day (and I don’t agree that commemoration in this country serves
no purpose) what we need in addition to a commemoration day is an Holocaust awareness
day when we make ourselves conscious of its historical and above all current relevance
of that distant tragedy. Fighting Holocaust denial in the Muslim world
(Iranians are not Arabs) and elsewhere and fighting the contemporary spread of
antisemitism worldwide (these are related phenomenons) should be our top priority.

DSarna says:

There never was a place for Yom HaShoah. Tish’a B’Av is the Jewish day of mourning for tragedy that has befallen Israel over the years. Some have suggested that it be remembered of the Tenth of Tevet. Either is fine with me.

Poupic says:

I distort nothing! You are adding your disgusting “Where are the ovens?” You are as disgusting as they come! If anyone writes “Hilary” none objects and all know it is about Hilary Clinton. Why would it be different if I use the man’s names who are on his brith certificate it is racism? Get a life!

Poupic says:

That he grew up in a Muslim nation has nothing to do with his anti- Semitism as far I know. In fact I may be wrong about that. He declared that he misses the call to prayer in the morning. And he recently spoke of Palestinian mothers to Israeli students that continuous targets of Hamas missiles at school time. Barack Hussein is transparent as they come. You only have the courage to look at it. That of course you ain’t got.

bpuharic says:

Part of this battle must be to recognize the effects of religious and nationalist fundamentalism; how poisonous they are. Islamist fundamentalism, and to a lesser extent, Christian fundamentalism as exhibited recently in NC, certainly are dangers.

Remembering the Shoah is not limited to memorializing an event in history. It’s a reminder that appeals to the baser side of our natures can forever lead to destruction.

all of the reasons states above not to observe Holocaust Day can be said about Israeli Independence Day as well. Do you advocate stopping to celebrate that as well?

bpuharic says:

Begging the question, I see. As I said, he’s been president for 4 years. If you had proof of his anti-semitism, it would be in his actions as the most powerful leader in the world.

Your racist views certainly tell us why you really think he’s an anti-semite.

bpuharic says:

You’re certainly digging yourself a deeper hole here, aren’t you? The prejudicial use of “Barrack Hussein” coupled with baseless insinuations about his motives, along with your lack of proof from his presidency of ANY antisemitism, shows your motivation is racism rather than policy.

The author overlooks two important specific acts we Jews are enjoined to perform: Be part of a community and, do not separate yourself from the community. The author may chose to reflect about the Shoah and her family. It might be helpful be be with others to share experiences and lessons. American Jews are party of the fabric of world Jewry. It does not behoove or suit us to be separate or separated from the whole. The Shoah belongs to the entire Jewish peopleIt is unique and cannot be generalized or universalized. That will happen in American sooner than we want over the course of time; but we Jews have to inisist that it is our event -a fight that will be increasingly difficult to prove or win.

herbcaen says:

I think this column is part of the new phenomemon of Holocaust amnesia, in which akin to Holocaust denial, people urge us to forget the Holocaust. The major lessons of the Holocaust that are present today, when both the victims and perpetrators are elderly, is not to rely on the goodwill of man. Indeed, the goodwill of men did not protect Rwandans, Cambodians, nor Congolese. Holocaust amnesiacs in general want to eliminate the concept of Jewish self defense and often sympathise with enemies of the Jewish people. This is a win win for people who like to promote their careers without having to do the heavy lifting that is required for a lifetime of accomplishment

It’s unlikely that you are called by your middle name as if it’s your surname. The president’s surname is Obama, and as much as the name Hussein is a dog whistle for you, Hussein is not the president’s surname.

The key to dealing with holocaust deniers is not to change their mind, but to make everyone around them realize how stupid they are. A powerless holocaust denier is not a problem, but when they start getting involved in politics, then we have a problem. I would take comprehensive holocaust education (mentioning the full 12 million who died, as anti-Roma sentiment is just as strong as antisemitism in parts of Europe) over a memorial any day of the week.

An arbitrary day. Who shall live and who shall die who shall escape to North America South America Palestine and who shall be turned back. What could be more arbitrary. It continues to be a warning to resist mass killings in other places Yugoslavia syria etc

david wilson says:

I’m all for remembering and memorializing the tragedy of the Shoah. The reactions to this article , however, are all over the map. The most hysterical ones come from the kishkas–emotions and sense of identity.

I went to a a service yesterday at the local synagogue. The rabbi is “second generation” or what we used to call a “refugee kid.” The most important thing he said was that if Jews don’t remember this epic tragedy, then no one will. A little hyperbolic but essentially true. What I’m afraid of when the elderly survivors die off is that the immediacy will also be gone. And what I’m most afraid of is that this remembrance will then be turned into another Jewish litmus test–emotions replace facts. Part of the problem that the article raised was that the Shoah was used, in part, as ideological fodder to advance Israel’s political agenda. This is not to deny or trivialize either the Shoah or the formation of the state of Israel. But at least admit to your tactics when intentions are the only way to gain recognition. If this too becomes a mandatory part of Jewish identity for American Jews, then we defeat the purpose. Think about how hollow is the concept of “multiculturalism.” I’ve always felt, that as a Jew, that doesn’t correspond to my actual experience. Please don’t turn the Shoah into a similar thing.

James Glazier says:

When Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 there were 18 million Jews in the world. We lost 6 million Jews in the war. Last week it was reported that the world’s Jewish population is 13.8 million Jews. In seventy-four years we have increased by 1.8 million. Hitler killed us off in the 1930′s and 40′s. The lack of Jewish identity today has the potential to be even more catastrophic.

genelevit says:

It is not easy to have a “remembrance day” in the country where the vast majority of population neither remembers it or care. Our religious leaders didn’t put any effort to incorporate this tragedy into the religious service as if what happened to few thousands Jews long time ago in Persia is more important to them than destiny of millions of our (and their) close relatives and ancestors. Therefore only Israel, as a country, can offer Jews (and particularly our children) the opportunity to remember the victims of the genocide in most meaningful way. (watch y-tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeiG5UWEDBE)

Jacob Arnon says:

Both kinds of responses are necessary,

Jay Friedman says:

Israel was not established nor do we exist for the sole purpose of providing pleasure or meaning to the American Jewish community or to individual American Jews or to individual Americans who may feel a bit discomfited when they are reminded that they are Jews. Unlike the author, we do not “pay our respects”. We are Jews – not members of another tradition. We carry the memory of that awful period in our minds every day. We defend our country against a repetition. And we stand as one people and one nation with the understanding that we are together with all our co-nationals in this country (and in others) who collectively remember our brothers and sisters. We are not individuals lighting memorial candles in the confines of our own well furnished homes. We stand outside – in view of others and together with them as part of a single nation..

Poupic says:

Unlikely, shmenlikely this name on the birth certificate from Hawaii: Barack Hussein Obama. That it upsets you is great! I love the sound of it! Barack Hussein! It has so much music in it! Have you ever heard of Glubb Pasha? An English man, in fact called Sir John Glubb. He in fact chose to be called Glubb Pasha. Barack Hussein has some mystical, adventure sound to it. Don’t you think? Come on come out with it, you do not like it because it is a Muslim name right? Why is that? Why do you have a problem with Muslim names? I don’t obviously. A long time ago I even had a Muslim girl friend, Fadia and a good friend Salim. I also used to work with one name Shacker. Why do you all have problem with Muslim names and yet voted for Barack Hussein? I have no problem with names yet you can bet your last Dollar that I would never vote knowingly for an anti- Semite. To my great shame, I voted twice for Carter. He hid his anti- Semitism well then.

BURPT says:

I disagree with your generalization about intermarriage. Mine has brought me closer to Judaism, even closer than when I lived in Israel where I never would have joined a synagogue, had a Bat Mitzvah or started teaching B’nai MItzvah. Regarding Yom Hashoah, in Israel, yes, there is a palpable, collective connection. But I would venture to say that even in Eretz Yisrael, the younger generations who haven’t experienced living in the Galut or antisemitism on a personal level, are more indifferent than you let on. I think the author is trying to address a way to keep this Day of Remembrance relevant both personally and collectively.

bpuharic says:

That you use it in a racial context is part of your attempt to sully Obama with charges you can’t prove. As she said, you’re using it because you want to distract from the fact you are distorting the facts, and doing so in a racial context.

You’ve failed to prove Obama’s an antisemite so are now reduced to using a slur, implicit on the use of his name. You’ve done nothing but make absurd, offensive innuendos about the President and simply don’t have the moral backbone to apologize both for doing that AND for trivializing the Shoah. You owe an apology to everyone on this thread.

Z H Szubin says:

Apropos, “Asara b’Tevet as Yom Hashoah, admittedly, according to conventional perceptions the fast of ‘asara b’tevet is viewed as a lesser and least significant fast in comparison with the other fast days. ‘Asara b’tevet is also considered an “easy fast” perhaps due to the fact that it occurs during one of the shortest days of the year, rather than during the long and hot days of the sweltering summer months of Tamuz and Av. Yet in an array of authoritative early rabbinic sources ‘asara b’tevet appears to be invested with greater significance and stringency than most of the other fasts, inter alia, due the fact that this day marks the onset of the subsequent calamities. Thus, in my discussions with my mentor, Rabbi Isaac Herzog, I suggested that the day or days designated as Yom Hashoah, ought to be invested with a similar force of urgency. Consequently, in the case where the day has to be postponed (nidche) certain commemorative aspects ought to be observed, including the recitation of the Kadish. For indeed, ‘asara b’tevet (not unlike yom kippur) would mandate fasting even if it fell on Shabbat, in contrast to all the other fast days that would invariably be postponed as indicated in authoritative halakhic sources. Indeed, on the basis of proof-texts culled from the early strata of rabbinic sources in my book, “Text Archeology in Jewish Law and Liturgy” I was able to demonstrate the special distinct significance of ‘Asara b’Tevet. – as per, the following succinct and somewhat truncated summary:
‘Asara b’Tevet on Shabbat
Concerning the significance of the ‘asara b’tevet fast and especially the issues related to its hypothetical occurrence on Shabbat, this is the only fast that halakhic authorities have ascertained that the fast of ‘asara b’tevet fast would never fall on Shabbat. Evidently, due to the fact that early authoritative sources indicate that indeed, in such an event the fast would not be postponed, as per, “…chutz m’asara b’tevet she-eino chal l’olam b’shabbat… v’afilu haya chal b’shabbat, lo hayu ikholim lidchoto l’yom acher” (Abudarham, Seder tfilat ta’anit)
As I have suggested in my book, “Text Archeology and Jewish Law and Liturgy” one of the main reasons that ‘asara b’tevet deserves special attention, is rooted in the emphatic reiteration in the biblical verse, “ben adam ktov lkha, et shem ha-yom, et ‘etzem ha-yom ha-zeh…” (Ezek. 24:2)
Succinctly stated, this particular double designation utilizes a reference to an additional date, which transcends the usual term of a monthly calendar dependent day, which may vary due to solar lunar or other calculations … For indeed, whereas the second designation, ‘etzem ha-yom ha-zeh refers to the day of the month, on the other hand, the first designation, shem ha-yom, refers to the day of the week. Indeed, this is the interpretation offered by the Radak ad loc. However, in this context, I have venture a step further beyond Radak’s discerning interpretation, which apparently resolved the apparent redundancy.
Consequently, I have suggested that a close reading of the text focused on the expression shem ha-yom, yields a significant meaning. Tellingly, the only day of the week that has a name, rather than the standard numerical mispar designation, such as yom rishon, yom sheini etc. is the seventh day of the week – namely, Shabbat. The correlation with yom kippur, on the basis of a similar linguistic usage of b’etzem serves as an ancillary rationale to mandate fasting on ‘asara b’tevet even on shabbat…

One of the most committed and vibrant Jewish communities in N. America, Detroit, this year honored Shoah victims of all faiths with a requiem written by our very own Cantor Daniel Gross, and performed by a cadre of interfaith choir groups from our metropolitan area. Participation by la variety of local clergy of more than a dozen was included in the event, which took place at Detroit’s beautiful Orchestra Hall. I regret that the author of this article wasn’t present to enjoy the event.

Poupic says:

You refuse to look at the facts that Barack Hussein is an anti- Semite. I have shown undeniable facts. I have no problem with a Muslim name at all, you do! Why is that? What do you have against Muslims?

bpuharic says:

This is the “Don Corleone” defense; “I swear, on the souls of my grandchildren, that what I say is true.”

Yeah. I refuse to believe what you say because you haven’t presented any proof. And your feigned shock at being called out over your implicit racism is a bit precious.

Z H Szubin says:

Apropos, ‘Asara b’Tevet as Yom Hashoah, admittedly, according to conventional perceptions the fast of ‘asara b’tevet is viewed as a lesser and least significant fast in comparison with the other fast days. ‘Asara b’Tevet is also considered an “easy fast” perhaps due to the fact that it occurs during one of the shortest days of the year, rather than during the long and hot days of the sweltering summer months of Tamuz and Av. Yet in an array of authoritative early rabbinic sources ‘asara b’tevet appears to be invested with greater significance and stringency than most of the other fasts, inter alia, due the fact that this day marks the onset of the subsequent calamities. Thus, in my discussions with my mentor, Rabbi Isaac Herzog, I suggested that the day or days designated as Yom Hashoah, ought to be invested with a similar force of urgency. Consequently, in the case where the day has to be postponed (nidche) certain commemorative aspects ought to be observed, including the recitation of the Kadish. For indeed, ‘asara b’tevet (not unlike yom kippur) would mandate fasting even if it fell on Shabbat, in contrast to all the other fast days that would invariably be postponed as indicated in authoritative halakhic sources. Indeed, on the basis of proof-texts culled from the early strata of rabbinic sources in my book, “Text Archeology in Jewish Law and Liturgy” I was able to demonstrate the special distinct significance of ‘Asara b’Tevet. – as per, the following succinct and somewhat truncated summary:
‘Asara b’Tevet on Shabbat
Concerning the significance of the ‘asara b’tevet fast and especially the issues related to its hypothetical occurrence on Shabbat, this is the only fast that halakhic authorities have ascertained that the fast of ‘asara b’tevet would never fall on Shabbat. Evidently, due to the fact that early authoritative sources indicate that indeed, in such an event the fast would not be postponed, as per, “…chutz m’asara b’tevet she-eino chal l’olam b’shabbat… v’afilu haya chal b’shabbat, lo hayu ikholim lidchoto l’yom acher” (Abudarham, Seder tfilat ta’anit)
As I have suggested in my book, “Text Archeology in Jewish Law and Liturgy” one of the main reasons that ‘asara b’tevet deserves special attention, is rooted in the emphatic reiteration in the biblical verse, “ben adam ktov lkha, et shem ha-yom, et ‘etzem ha-yom ha-zeh…” (Ezek. 24:2)
Succinctly stated, this particular double designation utilizes a reference to an additional date, which transcends the usual term of a monthly calendar dependent day, which may vary due to solar lunar or other calculations … For indeed, whereas the second designation, ‘etzem ha-yom ha-zeh refers to the day of the month, on the other hand, the first designation, shem ha-yom, refers to the day of the week. Indeed, this is the interpretation offered by the Radak ad loc. However, in this context, I have ventured a step further beyond Radak’s discerning interpretation, which apparently resolved the apparent redundancy.
Consequently, I have suggested that a close reading of the text focused on the expression shem ha-yom, yields a significant meaning. Tellingly, the only day of the week that has a name, rather than the standard numerical mispar designation, such as yom rishon, yom sheini etc. is the seventh day of the week – namely, Shabbat. The correlation with yom kippur, on the basis of a similar linguistic usage of b’etzem serves as an ancillary rationale to mandate fasting on ‘asara b’tevet even on shabbat…

Poupic says:

Don what? I have zero problems with Islam until it calls for killing Jews, zero problem. I have zero problem with Arab names or Muslim names. You do! Then you call me racist! We used to have barbecues at the beach with two Syrian woman, a couple of Palestinians, an Egyptian woman every weekend. It was great fun for us all. The lady who was the center of this was Noha, she moved away and the whole group fell apart. I have no problem whatsoever with people from any race or origin. I look at the person. But you the accuser have a big problem with my use of Muslim names. You need to seek some help. You need it.

Poupic says:

Great! Can you help me? When Hilary Clinton was Secretary of state I posted many times with her name: Hilary. No one ever objected to it and many did the same. Why is it you and the other guys have a problem with Barack Hussein? Obviously you are all the one’s having a problem with the name. Do you mind telling us what is it that bothers you in an Islamic name? I have zero problems with Islamic names so why do you think I should get help while in truth you all have a problem, not me. Look in the mirror if you are still capable of it because you should be ashamed of yourself.

bpuharic says:

You’re using, as another poster said, a dog whistle, guilt by association slur which is prejudicial. No one uses his middle name in general conversation. You, with your ‘Obama’s a Muslim’ tirade, and other slanders, have to use the ‘foreign sounding’ Hussein for the simple reason you WANT to convince people he’s the ‘other’…not a real American.

YOU are the one who said he missed the adhan, as if that was proof he’s a Muslim. You’re slinging alot of mud here. Don’t be surprised if you coat yourself with a generous helping.

Poupic says:

Finally I get it! What is upsetting all of you is that Hussein to your ears is an Islamic name but since you are ignorant of that culture you think that the name Barack is OK when in fact it is also an Islamic name which, I am not mistaken means the same thing as the Jewish name Baruch, both names meaning blessed, one in Arabic and the other in Hebrew. This is hilarious! I have to tell all my friends. They will have a good belly laugh at your expense.

You looked it up on Google! Otherwise you would have known that Barack is exactly as “foreign” as Hussein since both are Islamic names. Thank you so much for amusing me. Thank you!

bpuharic says:

No. What I get is you tried to slander Obama with being a ‘foreigner’ and a “Muslim”, based on the fact he has a foreign sounding name and he grew up in Indonesia. You lied about him being an antisemite then tried to compound your lies with racist prejudicial abuses of his name.

Go ahead and try to defer your racist slander. You’re fooling no one.

genelevit says:

There is the old joke about Jewish identity. In the Soviet Union Breznev asks chief of KGB Andropov: “Tell me, comrade Andropov, how many Jews live in our country?” “By our estimate, comrade Breznev, there are around two and half million Jews in USSR. But why did you ask?” “Well… if we let them go, how many of them will leave Soviet Union? What do you think?” “Well, my guess is between six and seven million”.
Don’t be pessimistic.

Guest says:

I completely disagree with this article. My perspective is that we need Yom ha Shoah more now than ever. My reasoning is on my blog in a post that responds to this. http://wp.me/p1I5vv-cx

I completely disagree with this article. My perspective is that we need Yom ha Shoah more now than ever. My reasoning is on my blog in a post that responds to this. http://wp.me/p1I5vv-cx

silverbackV says:

Hey Boopsey, you have every right in the world to worship at the obama throne and to not observe Yom HaShoah, but you have no right or standing to suggest that other people participate in your ill conceived folly. Grow up!

bpuharic says:

No one knows what you’re talking about

Least of all you.

Poupic says:

This is even funnier! I am the only one that mentioned his birth in Hawaii and you accuse me of what? “slander … being a foreigner and a Muslim…” Really? I defy you of showing that accused Barack Hussein of being a Muslim and a foreigner. I spoke of his birth certificate from Hawaii! I am the only one who mentioned his birth in the USA. Maybe you do not know it, but Hawaii is part of the Union. It is a US state and they vote in US elections. Come on! You are trying to be funny? It doesn’t work. You have no future as a comedian.

bpuharic says:

You keep backpedaling. No wonder. It’s an implicit admission of your racism. Your assertion that he grew up Indonesia, and misses the adhan…and therefore has a ‘soft spot’ for Islam, in the context of your lies about him being an antisemite are clearly racist.

fred capio says:

Thank you……

Poupic says:

Barack Hussein himself spoke of his growing up in Indonesia and he told the Muslim world, not me that he misses the sound of the call to prayer in the morning. He went at great length about his soft spot for Islam. Why would he not? His father was a Muslim and his step father was also a Muslim. I have zero problem with that, but you do. Why? I have shown his repeated choice of friends, advisors, spiritual mentors that are anti- Semites. Apparently showing facts is racism in your eyes. In my eyes as survivor of anti- Semitism this is an undeniable proof that one is an anti- Semite. Someone that isn’t one would not associate with any of them for even a minute. This is why I did not vote for Barack Hussein.

Shalom & Boker tov…Ms Franklin’s paper is cogent and perceptive…despite the antisemitic diatribes I have perused here. I do not need an Yisra’eli ‘secular’ observance to remind me, a post-Auschwitz, that the ashes of the Kingdom of Night still hover in my consciousness. I recommend Tom Segev’s 1993 THE SEVENTH MILLION, among others, for an analysis of how the western European Ben-Gurion Zionists treated survivors after the Shoah…and during the exterminations.

I would, however, like to offer a correction to Ms Franklin. Reb Elie Wiesel’s book appeared first in 1956, Eliezer Wiesel, UN DIE VELT HOT GESHVIGN [AND THE WORLD REMAINED SILENT], as a vibrant, 245 Yiddish testimony in Buenos Ayres, published by Tesentral-Farband fun Poylische Yidin in Argentine. (A facsimile is available from the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts.) He heavily rewrote the Yiddish original (which SHOULD be translated into English), and published (as Elie Wiesel) the 178 page Editions de Minuit French edition as LA NUIT in 1958, Hill & Wang in 1960 published the 116 page Stella Rodway English translation as NIGHT. In 2006, Marion Wiesel published a revised, 120 page translation of NIGHT through Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. It has always remained unclear to me why Reb Wiesel has resisted, for over 50 years, has thwarted an English translation of the original Yiddish. There are thematic differences, to be sure, but his voice is the same voice as that of (albeit tempered) 1958.

Thank you, Ms Franklin. You writings (especially your 2011 A THOUSAND DARKNESSES) are valued.

STEPHAN BOROWSKI PICKERING / Chofetz Chayim benAvraham
Torah G-ddess Yehudi Apikores Ishi / Philologia Kabbalistica Speculativa Researcher

fred capio says:

the negative effect of intermarriage is beyond dispute. Your personal experience is irrelevant

James Glazier says:

I cannot see the humor in the joke. It’s been seventy-four years and we haven’t even reached the numbers we were prior to the WWII. If you are suggesting there are some four million uncounted Jews in the world then I would suggest you are sorely mistaken.

fred capio says:

The highjacking of Yom HaShoah by religious Jews has excluded and/or alienated a large number of American Jews. Thanks G-d, in Israel Yom HaShoah is a secular holiday.

Yes it is secularized so there is something for those of us who are born Jewish but do not sign on to the religion. We can read, writer, perform put on plays, play music and remember the erasure of all the creative artists and others who were wiped from the face of this earth in the most horrific genocide of the 20th centur in our own ways. That alone is worthwhile.

silverbackV says:

No surprise that you don’t!

fred capio says:

Any argument with someone who believes in the ghost-written pulp “Audacity of Hope” is futile…..

Poupic says:

Thank you!

Do we still need Tisha B Av? I think we need some way the mark the destruction of

six million Jews of Europe. It isn’t so long ago and already Europeans are already forgetting

Sadie says:

Passover celebrates the Exodus from Egypt, and yet we mention it every day in prayer. Shavuot celebrates the giving of Torah, and yet every day we learn its laws, perform its commandments, and thank G-d for choosing us to receive it. Tisha B’Av commemorates the destruction of the Temple and yet, again, every prayer services includes prayers for it to be rebuilt. And so on.

Your thesis that we don’t need a day of commemoration b/c we should remember the Shoah every day doesn’t hold water with How Our Religion Actually Works.

bpuharic says:

You judge a person based on what you’ve been told to do.

I judge based on what he does. That’s why your view is a failure

bpuharic says:

Having been to a Muslim country myself (Malaysia), the adhan is very pretty. And what does his view have to do with your racist characterization of his views on Islam?

Ron Paul had antisemitic friends. Are all conservatives antisemites? A poll released yesterday found 35% of Americans want Christianity to be the state religion…are you anti-Christian if you disagree?

You’re like the Woody Allen character who thinks everyone who doesn’t believe as you do is an antisemite. Pathetic. And, in your case,

racist

Poupic says:

What are you talking about? Yom Hashoa is extremely important to me. She questioned if we need it still. We need it today more than ever when anti- Semites come out from under every rock and sewage.

Z H Szubin says:

Apropos, ‘Asara b’Tevet as Yom Hashoah, admittedly, according to conventional perceptions the fast of ‘asara b’tevet is viewed as a lesser and least significant fast in comparison with the other fast days. ‘Asara b’Tevet is also considered an “easy fast” perhaps due to the fact that it occurs during one of the shortest days of the year, rather than during the long and hot days of the sweltering summer months of Tamuz and Av. Yet in an array of authoritative early rabbinic sources ‘asara b’tevet appears to be invested with greater significance and stringency than most of the other fasts, inter alia, due the fact that this day marks the onset of the subsequent calamities. Thus, in my discussions with my mentor, Rabbi Isaac Herzog, I suggested that the day or days designated as Yom Hashoah, ought to be invested with a similar force of urgency. Consequently, in the case where the day has to be postponed (nidche) certain commemorative aspects ought to be observed, including the recitation of the Kadish. For indeed, ‘asara b’tevet (not unlike yom kippur) would mandate fasting even if it fell on Shabbat, in contrast to all the other fast days that would invariably be postponed as indicated in authoritative halakhic sources. Indeed, on the basis of proof-texts culled from the early strata of rabbinic sources in my book, “Text Archeology in Jewish Law and Liturgy” I was able to demonstrate the special distinct significance of ‘Asara b’Tevet. – as per, the following succinct and somewhat truncated summary:
‘Asara b’Tevet on Shabbat
Concerning the significance of the ‘asara b’tevet fast and especially the issues related to its hypothetical occurrence on Shabbat, this is the only fast that halakhic authorities have ascertained that the fast of ‘asara b’tevet would never fall on Shabbat. Evidently, due to the fact that early authoritative sources indicate that indeed, in such an event the fast would not be postponed, as per, “…chutz m’asara b’tevet she-eino chal l’olam b’shabbat… v’afilu haya chal b’shabbat, lo hayu ikholim lidchoto l’yom acher” (Abudarham, Seder tfilat ta’anit)
As I have suggested in my book, “Text Archeology in Jewish Law and Liturgy” one of the main reasons that ‘asara b’tevet deserves special attention, is rooted in the emphatic reiteration in the biblical verse, “ben adam ktov lkha, et shem ha-yom, et ‘etzem ha-yom ha-zeh…” (Ezek. 24:2)
Succinctly stated, this particular double designation utilizes a reference to an additional date, which transcends the usual term of a monthly calendar dependent day, which may vary due to solar lunar or other calculations … For indeed, whereas the second designation, ‘etzem ha-yom ha-zeh refers to the day of the month, on the other hand, the first designation, shem ha-yom, refers to the day of the week. Indeed, this is the interpretation offered by the Radak ad loc. However, in this context, I have ventured a step further beyond Radak’s discerning interpretation, which apparently resolved the apparent redundancy.
Consequently, I have suggested that a close reading of the text focused on the expression shem ha-yom, yields a significant meaning. Tellingly, the only day of the week that has a name, rather than the standard numerical mispar designation, such as yom rishon, yom sheini etc. is the seventh day of the week – namely, Shabbat. The correlation with yom kippur, on the basis of a similar linguistic usage of b’etzem serves as an ancillary rationale to mandate fasting on ‘asara b’tevet even on shabbat…

Emilie56 says:

So I am to understand that since we cannot link this remembrance day to a specific holiday of Jewish mourning that has already been established, we should maybe discontinue remembering that so many exterminated Jews for merely being Jews? After all, as all young people will tell us, this happened oh so long ago, literally ancient history to a teenager, and since we cannot shove the day into some other forever mourning litany on the religious calendar, we can soon all pretend it never happened. After all, we live here in America where people tend to forget that anti-Semitism was totally alive and well in the 1930′s right in employment agencies where they would not look for jobs for Jewish women, and we can forget that our country sent the ship St. Louis packing or failed to bomb the railroad tracks that took people to their deaths when they could have done so; in fact, let’s pretend that nothing bad can happen to a Jew here since bad things haven’t happened for awhile. Why don’t we do that instead of possibly advertising Yom HaShoah so that people will know they need to have interest and a duty in attending a remembrance service? Yes, let’s do that. Let’s pretend. After all, it is not cool to think about such bad things and we don’t want young Jewish Americans to have to be forced to actually meet the world as the world was and is. Moreover, soon every Holocaust survivor will be dead and then we can totally pretend nothing ever happened. That’s what the young want to do anyway. We can eliminate the day and give the 20 and 30 somethings assistance towards their goal of considering the Holocaust totally ancient history and allow them to continue to spend their time attempting to find the “perfect prospective mate”, while the years roll by and the Jewish population decreases for lack of reproduction and/or intermarriage. Let’s not be aware that the Holocaust killed more than the obvious victims. It killed the future where everywhere other than Israel so many Jews marry out. We shouldn’t worry now. We all blend in beautifully and soon will, as the likes of a John Kerry, will only claim a bit of Jewish ancestry. We’re doing great, don’t you think? Let’s continue on the road to invisibility. Let’s have no interest and without interest our goal will be to eliminate the day rather than to advertise the day so that those who do not know will continue not to know. Oh yes, this is good. Way to go.

To confront the intrinsic evil of Zionism and the Zionist state, it is important that we all completely revise our thinking about Yiddish and German Jews as well as about the damage that they have done to the world since the Napoleonic Wars.

We need fully to understand both the Holocaust and the Nakba.

First we have to talk about the history of Jewish oppression in Europe.

It is basically non-existent. The eminent Jewish historian Albert Lindenmann refers to the Leidensgeschichte as orthodox fundamentalist version of Jewish history according to which Jews are in spiritual exile/alienation and must feel oppressed.

In reality over the last millennium Jews generally had higher incomes, longer lifespans, and more education that the non-Jews among whom Jews live.

Jewish whining about their history of oppression represents an historical disconnect as another eminent Jewish historian, Columbia Professor Salo Baron, demonstrated decades ago.

Next we have to discuss blowback, for the Holocaust is massive blowback for the actions of Jewish groups and organizations going back to the Napoleonic Wars and probably earlier.

Let us be very clear on the definition of blowback.

Here is what wikipedia says.

“Blowback is unintended consequences of a covert operation that are suffered by the civil population of the aggressor government. To the civilians suffering the blowback of covert operations, the effect typically manifests itself as “random” acts of political violence without a discernible, direct cause; because the public—in whose name the intelligence agency acted—are ignorant of the effected secret attacks that provoked revenge (counter-attack) against them.[1]”.

Jewish groups and organizations were involved in all sorts of financial crimes since the Napoleonic Wars. The really big Jewish fortunes in Central and Western Europe were almost invariably founded in massive usury and profiteering. In many industries like meat wholesaling and retailing Jews engaged in middle market restraint of trade to wipe out non-Jewish competitors by unethical and often illegal means. It is not surprising at all that the gentile meat industry was the most reliable source of anti-Jewish agitation in pre-WW1 Germany. The roots of the crashes that preceded both the Long Depression and Great Depression lie in corrupt Jewish (mostly covert) social networks and their financial dealings.

Jewish financial aggression, chicanery, and malfeasance associated with the Long Depression destroyed the incomes and families of many non-Jews. The charge that some groups of Jews exploited the peasantry mercilessly was basically true. Groups of Jews messing with the livelihoods of lots of non-Jews cannot help but incite hatred.

Was it so unreasonable for patriotic Germans to suspect that German Jews stabbed Germany in the back in return for the Balfour Declaration especially when revolutionary cabals that were almost entirely Jewish tried to bring Soviet style revolutions to Bavaria and Hungary?

The Soviet Army that attacked Poland and that was turned back by Pilsudski in the Miracle of Warsaw was led by Jewish Bolsheviks.

Before Hitler took power, Jewish Bolsheviks were up to their eyeballs in mass murder, ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Up until the Wannsee Conference (Jan 20, 1942) the German Nazi policy of driving out Jews was more or less identical with the Zionist (Jewish Nazi) policy of driving out out the native Palestinian population as the Zionist leadership proposed in the 1880s.

The German Nazis convinced themselves that they had to undertake Operation Barbarossa (June 22, 1941) because they feared that collaborating Zionists and Jewish Bolsheviks were preventing a settlement of WW2. In retrospect it seems rather silly to have believed that Zionists and Bolsheviks were collaborating and that Bolsheviks were war-mongering, but at the time the suspicion was not unreasonable at all, and Zionists were in fact war-mongering just as Jewish Zionist Neocons war-mongered under Bush and continue to war-monger under Obama.

As the invasion of the Soviet Union bogged down the German government concluded that German survival depended on eradicating the Zionist Judeo-Bolshevik terrorist menace and that it was under a compelling necessity to destroy Jewish enemy just as Ben-Gurion and the Zionist leadership justified genocide against the native Palestinian population via the argument of compelling necessity.

In contrast to the massive blowback that European Jews suffered, the Zionist leadership planned naked genocide against Palestinians in the 1880s and finally carried out its planned genocide in 1947-8. Before the invasion of murderous racist genocidal Eastern European Jews, that native Palestinian population had practically no interaction with ethnic Ashkenazim whatsoever. Thus the Zionist genocide against Palestinians is probably the purest and most evil example of genocide imaginable.

It is time to stopping cutting so much slack to Jews. We must stop thinking of the Holocaust as the most heinous example of genocide while in contrast the Nakba should be considered the archetypal cold-blooded genocide.

Americans and Germans need to get over the poisonous pro-Semitism that is destroying their political systems while all educated people needs to reevaluate common false beliefs about Jewish and especially Yiddish history.

jcarpenter says:

I viewed the film “Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin” on PBS last night; it was both terrifying and inspiring. Films such as this one highlight a little-known (to many) detail about courage and defiance of unspeakable cruelty.

Truth be told, 6,000,000 Jews are the only Jews recognized and accounted for. What about the unborn Jews, for example, who died in their mothers’ wombs or were even taken out of their mothers’ wombs and murdered? Besides, the Shoah lasted from 1929-1945 (when the Great Depression hit and Jews got blamed, and then 16 years of–to say the least–Anti Semitism that progressively got worse). Do the math: 6 million/ (365*16)= 1027 yahrzeits, and that’s only if one give each accounted-for Jewish victim of the Shoah. 1027/365 = 2.8 years. Is mourning that at least 6,000,000 Jews were murdered for only 2.8 years appropriate?

Beatrix17 says:

We need something. I live in a small town and the local paper recently ran an article concerning the concentration camps without one mention of the Jews. I wrote a letter about the Holocaust and the Jews and why we can’t be forgotten or overlooked. The paper ran the letter in full.

Perhaps they wanted to say everyone suffered and so no one should be singled out. Or maybe it was an attempt to placate local Muslims who hold important positions in the community. We who are here today should know that the Shoah is important and shouldn’t be forgotten, because there is every possibility that younger Jews won’t care as much.

I think the author is a little too eager to do away with Yom HaShoah. Judaism is a religion forever tied with its past, and to do away with the day commemorating the single greatest tragedy (among many others) to happen to the Jewish people is shortsighted to say the least. Establishing a day of solemn commemoration is not due to it being any sort of popular trend, as the author would have us think, but rather because it marks an event so important or catastrophic that it bears formal observance. Most who identify as Jewish hardly observe any of the longer-established festivals, holidays, and fast days and yet these will always remain on the calendar.

As well, her passing reference as to why Yom HaShoah is not marked with the other fast days is theologically troubling and erroneous. The fast days of the Jewish tradition, with the exception of Yom Kippur, do mark calamitous events in Jewish history – the Destruction of the Temple, sacking of Jerusalem, and exiles into foreign lands suffered by the Jewish people. However, the common thread of all Jewish fast days (including Yom Kippur) is that they are days of atonement to rectify our behavior in order to turn away divine retribution for sins committed. Therefore, to mark Yom HaShoah with these fast days is akin to saying that the Jews who perished in the Shoah actually deserved to suffer as they did! We do not fast on Yom HaShoah because no people has ever deserved what the Nazis did to Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, Gypsies, and the mentally ill.

Jacob Arnon says:

What a bigoted jerk you are, Affleck.

If your own family had been decimated in massacres, you wouldn’t just be whining you would be looking for revange. So be thankful that we only “whine.”

Last time assholes like you tried to murder the. Jewish people over twenty million non Jews died in the process (if you don’t think those non Jews aren’t “whining” then you are ad dumb rusty door nail and you don’t know your history).

In any case, the next time your kin try to murder us it will cost you more than 20 million.

Now go fuccckk yourself Afleck.

Yes, let’s just forget the Holocaust, so it can happen again; pretend like it never happened? Shame, shame, shame on the author of this article

janpolatschek says:

“A more meaningful alternative?” I don’t think so. I don’t agree. As my father wrote when he constructed the Family Tree forty years ago, “You may want to forgive, but you should never forget!”

In response to the Tablet article, and as a way for me to remember, I decided to list the names of my own family members who “disappeared” in Europe.

Jan

Anna Polacek, Gustav Svoboda, Emil Svoboda, Josef Svoboda, Otto Svoboda, Heda Svoboda, Jindrich Roubicek, Sonja Roubicek, Jiri Roubicek, Ella Svoboda, Otto Polatschek, Liesel Polatschek, Eduard Polacek, Anna Brumlik, Hana Polacek, Emil Polacek, Josef Polacek, Josefina Polacek, Alois Krebs, Karl Krebs, Ida Krebs, Roubicek, Else Krebs, Kohn, Elisabeth Taussig Boehm, Emil Taussig, Jarda Taussig, Emma Taussig, Ernst Guth, Blanka Guth.

Jiri Roubicek was five years old. Sonja Roubicek was twelve.

My Grandmother’s mother, Elizabeth Taussig was eighty-one.

In our small Jewish community of under 1,000 we just had a Yom Hasho’ah service with almost 200 people in attendance. The mayor of the city read a proclamation, we had various clergy, youth, a local chorale and an essay contest (with more than 95 entries, mostly from non-Jewish students). Yom Hasho’ah services might be a thing of the past for costal Jews, but it’s alive and well here in the Mid West.

No. If anything it should be shouted from the rooftops and we should regather ourselves. Complacency breeds contempt and idleness in regards to us. If we do not Make a huge noise it will happen again. We need a HUGE campaign on the college campuses to remember your grandfathers uncles, aunts, grandmothers, and so forth, and speak of them on this day. This should be BIGGER now than ever before.

Naomi says:

Wow. Bold title. I will read the article soon. But I’m already slightly offended. I value Yom Hashoah tremendously. I think a day of collective mourning and remembrance is important and valuable. But I will read the article for more details soon.

ihatemakingnewuserids says:

Judaism is a religion. True one is Jewish even if they don’t believe in Judaism, but then what’s the point?

HalfSours says:

If you don’t wish to observe Yom Hashoah, nobody is making you. Let’s please not over-intellectualize and knock down something that’s sacrosanct for the sake of page views and attention.

Habbgun says:

Ain’t it funny how you can’t say Hussein but Fundamentalist Christian can be bandied around this site like the worst kind of epithet for no other reason than just because. This site is about Jewish discussion not European leftist hangups. Just because a set of Jews share those same hangups because they wish for a more European style striated society doesn’t mean we should give in to the speech police.

Thanks for reminding these people they are not any kind of authority and they don’t set the language.

bpuharic says:

Any reason you think racists should be given a free pass?

Habbgun says:

Could you please post as white trash off his meds. There comes a point where you are right. We should not be trying to endear ourselves but asserting when we are superior and bread mold is superior to worthless human trash like you. Please stop insulting your betters. You of all people have no right to assert yourself or speak. Trash tells.

We commemorate the Holocaust by surviving as Jews: By being being Chosen, we cannot help but commemorate it.

Poupic says:

Apparently I survived the Shoa to do a job. That is never to forget what happen to us in great part because “Good people“ like FDR closed the doors to Jews trying to escape the Shoa. Barack Hussein is even more this kind of “good people” because he says one thing from one side of his mouth and does terrible thing with the other side such as getting rid of 30 years ally of the USA who held the Muslim Brotherhood in check and he is gone and they control Egypt. Kopt, women, democrats are all in trouble, churches burning. The old Turkish democratic regime defended by the military is gone replaced by Erdogan, an Islamist. Generals, journalists are all in jail. Barack Hussein called Erdogan “a Friend and ally.” Ask yourself if it is an accident that Turkey and Egypt are totally and irremedially in the camp of the Islamists under Barack Hussein’s watch!

Poupic says:

You are not an interlocutor. What I write goes only through your anus where your brain reside. So keep repeating the same stupid accusation that I, of all people I am a racist. Plunk! Go away!

bpuharic says:

More racist nonsense. Puerile filth from someone who so obviously hates blacks he thinks they’re all anti semitic.

Poupic says:

Now this hillarious. So this is what it is all about! The fact that Barack Hussein calls himself a Black man has nothing to do with his being an anti- Semite. I do not give a rat’s ass what color is anyone. Many evenings I have been the only face in Jazz clubs where for all intent and purposes only Black people showed up and me. A wall in my living room is graced with signed pictures of Dizzy, Art Blakey and my dear friend Donald McKayle‘s show‘s poster. I regard all people in the exact same way: I judge people “not by the color of their skin…” Guess who said that! I will help you a bit. It is my personal Hero!

I am wondering then why is Barack Hussein not called White? After all his mother was White. His grand parents who raised him are white. His father, an African abandoned him as a little kid. His speech is white except when he speaks to a Black audience. Sudenlly then he sounds as if he was raised in the hood. So? Since Barack Hussein choses to call himself Black no one has the right to point out his anti- Semitism? Tell us as we all know, Farrakhan, Barack Hussein volunteered for often rants anti- Semitic rants over and over again. Can we say that he is an anti- Semite or not? Or we should not have the right to point the obvious about him? Go ahead! I would love to read your answer.Now this hilarious. So this is what it is all about! The fact that Barack Hussein calls himself a Black man has nothing to do with his being an anti- Semite. I do not give a rat’s ass what color is anyone. Many evenings I have been the only face in Jazz clubs where for all intent and purposes only Black people showed up and me. A wall in my living room is graced with signed pictures of Dizzy, Art Blakey and my dear friend Donald McKayle‘s show‘s poster. I regard all people in the exact same way: I judge people “not by the color of their skin…” Guess who said that! I will help you a bit. It is my personal Hero!

I am wondering then why is Barack Hussein not called White? After all his mother was White. His grand parents who raised him are white. His father, an African abandoned him as a little kid. His speech is white except when he speaks to a Black audience. Suddenly then he sounds as if he was raised in the hood. Obviously he had to train himself to speak in a way that was never his for most of his life. So? Since Barack Hussein chooses to call himself Black no one has the right to point out his anti- Semitism? Tell us as we all know, Farrakhan, Barack Hussein volunteered for often rants anti- Semitic rants over and over again. Can we say that he is an anti- Semite or not? Or we should not have the right to point the obvious about him? Go ahead! I would love to read your answer.

bpuharic says:

Ah. You like jazz so that proves you’re not a racist? Forgive me if I don’t believe you because some of your best friends are black.

Why’s he not white? You racists made up the one drop rule…go ahead and google it. The very fact you’re deciding for him what color he is tells us what your view of blacks is.

When you prove Obama’s done anything antisemitic, then you’ll have a case. So far your evidence seems to be that FDR didn’t admit Jews into the US and therefore Obama hates Jews.

Even for a racist like you that’s a stretch.

Poupic says:

Not only friends! I used to have a Black girlfriend living with me with her adorable daughter in a White neighborhood.

“Why’s he not white? You racists made up the one drop rule“ That’s a good one! I in fact asked the opposite saying that he chose to be called Black. Why is he Black and not White? Personally I have absolutely nothing to do with this garbage of one drop rule. I am a Jew who survived the ultimate racism of all times, the Shoa. Every cell of my body revolts at the idea of racism. You have attacked this Jew many time with your garbage. Your being here obsessively defines you well.

Honestly. Asking why we need yom hashoa is asking why we need an official day to commemorate a tragedy and loss of epic proportions. Ask a survivor about the importance of Yom Hashoa. Ask my great aunt Irene who suffered in Dr. Mangalas (yemach shemo) camp for years on end in the holocaust if we should take away the official day. See her reply.
Ask my congregants’ who had to flee, hide and went through hell and back to survive if we should take away an official day to acknowledge the holocaust, and see how they reply.
Ask the survivors who lives were and will never be the same, or their children, or children’s children, who are still affected by the pain and loss they went through. Ask those affected who understand that no matter how hard as Jews we try to fit into the world, we need to always keep on guard because we must say, remember and repeat, never again.
And finally, ask the survivors who tell us the biggest fear they have- is that we forget this day. Take away Yom Hashoa, and you take away not only importance of this memorial, you STRIP THE DIGNITY of those who survived. You are telling them, there story, their tragedy, the millions of members of their family lost, everything taken from them, is not enough. Now, we are going to invalidate the official day, because people just aren’t interested?
Dissonance stems from so many other things. How about, an inattentive generation. A generation who doesn’t realize the sacrifice their grandparents made to hold their identity when they were driven out from their homes and misplaced to foreign countries.
If you want to eliminate Yom Hashoa, why stop there? What about the Seder? I mean the passover seder commemorates our survival in Egypt, but we do that every day!! Is it all that important to have a designated holiday to discuss the threat of our extermination and our survival if it’s a daily activity in prayer, in our grace after meals?
I get the sense that you take time to reflect the importance of commemoration in your own private way. Not every individual sees its importance, and if we privatize its memorial, then it WILL become obsolete. Perhaps one of the reasons for its arbitrary nature is because commemorating a time of terrible destruction is NOT all that comfortable. Perhaps we aren’t suppose to feel “satisfied” with the service, but struggle to connect to the loss and never forget. If we lose this day, then history is MUCH more likely to repeat itself.

Habbgun says:

Nice try. Any reason you think that Fundamentalist Christian is a racial outlook and not a set of religious beliefs ? Any reason why Fundamentalphobia is ok but Islamophobia is not? You won’t address that now will you? Like it or not but Reverend Wright’s church is extremely policiticized and is highly racially aware and yet we are supposed to say rightfully so in one case and not the other which is especially egregious because fundamental christians are a diverse lot and race for many of them is besides the point. I am not looking for equivalencies or politically correct speech. You certainly are.

Habbgun says:

I would be more comfortable if Yom Hashoah was not observed outside of Israel where the observance of silence by an entire country is an incredible memorial to not just those who died but the continuity of Jewish life.

I have attended Yom Hashoah memorials and I was dismayed. It was an occasion for petty politicians to get a platform. That is not what Jewish life is about and it is a far better to memorialize these Jews through Tisha B’Av where we remember our connection to Hashem and that those left were martyrs which is something greater than victims. There were many who survived the concentration camps who never lost faith in Judaism. Yom Hashoah often instead says lets put our faith in the politician who shows up twice a year and then disappears.

Jewish holidays are not just historical trivia. They are reminders of our connection to Hashem and our spiritual life.

bpuharic says:

No one knows what you’re babbling about. What is “Islamophobia” and how does it apply here? What’s the difference between a Christian and an Islamist fundamentalist?

Every church is politicized.

The proof that Obama is an antisemite would lie in what he’s done. Merely invoking his childhood in Indonesia, and the fact his middle name is Hussein is not proof he hates Jews

Sorry

Mike says:

I find no particular meaning in Yom Hashoah and feel not great connection to it not because I don’t feel our tragedy deeply, but because of all the nasty political uses to which it is put so often.

The Holocaust itself is a kind of culmination of galute, but for me it is part of the already existing cultural matrix of Jewish communal/religious life… from tisha b’av to Purim to weekly and daily prayers for the restoration of the bayit to the entire Rabbinic effort to build a civillization in the diaspora…. the tragedy of galute was already fully integrated into our Jewish consciousness and way of life. The Holocaust is and should be part of that daily consciousness, that daily and weekly practice of awareness and devekut. Perhaps we should have even more, not less Holocaust consciousness, but surely not on a single day like Yom HaShoah. Perhaps our fidelity to the people of the past should be much quieter, more constant and less ostentatious.

As enormous as this tragedy was, it is not fundamentally of a different kind from those that came before. I know that many believe that it is. If you believe something fundamentally new visited the Earth in 1933 and 1942, then perhaps it requires a whole day in the Jewish calendar to focus on that awareness. Not believing the former, I find no need for a new place in time, for a new space in the calendar.

And I don’t see anything health or positive emerging from the fact that we have it. Because here’s the thing about loss. The call to never forget doesn’t do justice to the reality of living with death. Forgetfulness is also part of the process. Moving forward and on with life is also part of the process. It’s a kind of a blessing when the yartzeit of one’s parents, for example, is no longer a sharp pain, but more an occasion for pleasant memories of the good times. Well, is there any hope that this national “yartzeit” will evolve away from its evocations of pain and loss to fond memories of the achievements and successes and the unvarnished (not always positive but also not always tragic) reality of Jewish life in Europe? Can we do with this collective mourning what most people who have lost a parent and successfully mourned that person come to achieve… a sense of peace? Or will Yom HaShoah continue to be all about the sadness, and all about the justifications and all about the outrage? Does the establishment of a day, and its official rituals of mourning, not freeze us in a posture of pain that is not true to what happens when people mourn in a healthy way and move on in real life?

What is this day doing in our sacred calendar?

Finally, I do tire of our endless focus on ourselves – yes our six million of course, targetted specially, targetted uniquely, targetted with venom and passion, but a full accounting (on one day, or every day) simply makes no sense to me if we do not think of the others, among whom included (in this Wikipedia list…):

Poles (of whom 2.5 million gentile Poles were killed) and some other Slavic peoples; Soviets (particularly prisoners of war); Romanies (also known as Gypsies) and others who did not belong to the “Aryan race”; the mentally ill, the deaf, the physically disabled and mentally retarded; homosexual and transsexual people; political opponents such as social democrats and socialists; and religious dissidents, i.e. members of Jehovah’s Witnesses.[2][3]

Of COURSE it was about the Jews above all, but if in remembering the Holocaust we do not remember that we were only about half the story, if we make it mostly about us (as in my experience we almost always do), well then we’re really not remembering something basic about the event. Particularly as time goes by this day should not be about the dead, but about the living and those aspects of their lives that are worth emulating. It should be about gay rights, it should be about minority rights, it should be about a vision of equality and human dignity that Hitler sought to destroy. It should be about creating a cosmopolitan world. Again, let’s study the living of that era and learn from the lives they sought to live, the Jewish and non-Jewish, and leave the mourning to a quiet corner where the yartzeit candle flickers… if we must.

You can spew such nonsense, but objectively if non-Jews today

1) bore completely understandable grudges for the really bad things that far too many Jews have been doing over the last few centuries and

2) were as violent as Jews (especially ethnic Ashkenazim),

in addition to Arabs and Muslims, Jews would face at least 200-300 million justifiably very angry Euro-Ancestry people in N. American, Europe, and the territory of the former Soviet Union.

At some point Jews have to take a hard look at their behavior, culture, and religion and think about making some changes

1) as the vast majority of progressive European Jews argued during the 19th century and

2) as an impressive number of leading non-Ashkenazi Jews demanded of ethnic Ashkenazim.

Yom HaShoah reminds all of us of Hitler’s atrocities not only to Jews but other minorities as well.

Habbgun says:

Everyone knows what I am getting at so please stop your atheistic nonsense. Notice I use nonsense to describe your form of atheism which is not a thought process but a series of gimmicks and statements. To argue that Obama is not good for Israel is not racist since so many believe it is part of an outlook that is not good for the USA or indeed any place in the world his ideas are applied. To absolve his attendance at Reverend Wright (truly a feat considering how you bash religion) is simply picking and choosing and not thinking. Wright lives in a world of open ended racial grievance. If you understand the Bible past enslavement of wrongs do not excuse or modify your behavior when free. Wright is the antithesis of this. You many not like Poupic’s tone or mine for that matter but the point is to say tone it down but your method is to control the actual argument and actual language.

All religion is at some level political but at some level all politics is emotional including (well especially) yours. In fact my reason for removing Yom Hashoah for a day of remembrance is because it is too easily a vehicle for political speeches and make work for artists.

Habbgun says:

Oh Affleck you are SUCH WHITE TRASH. I know you hear that a lot and not from Jews but from (you know) people who have met you. Let me bring you up to speed jackass. The USA exists because Europeans had enough of other Europeans and not the Jews. In fact Americans have been less anti-semitic because they believe that anti-semitism was a screen against the problems of Europe. English left England, French left France, Belgians left Belgium, Germans left Germany.

Progressive European Jews simply cast their lot with the problematic European ideals which have been the destruction of so many, Imperialism, Marxism and Fascism are all from your favorite little continent. Why is that your favorite continent? Because being WHITE TRASH you are looking for a time when simply being WHITE TRASH you could still feel superior. Those days are over. WHITE TRASH is everywhere recognized as WHITE TRASH. You are clearly recognized as WHITE TRASH. Real multiculturalism (not the phony multiculturalism of progressives) understands the worth of people from all races and cultures. It therefore no longer fears WHITE TRASH. Now take your race crimes, your discredited ideas and go elsewhere. And please don’t associate with other WHITE TRASH. You’ll never improve past WHITE TRASH.

This year marks the first time that I attended a Yom HaShoah event. On Sunday, April 7, in Seattle, approximately 300 people gathered to hear Buchenwald survivor Robbie Waisman and Buchenwald liberator Leo Hymas share their stories. This program was sponsored by the Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center and the University of Washington Stroum Jewish Studies Program. The program was incredible, the speakers riveting and inspiring. Having never participated in any formal Yom HaShoah commemoration, I was surprised by the large turnout and the interest of the crowd. It made me wish that I had more actively participated in Yom HaShoah commemorations in the past, and feel committed to doing even more in the future.

Simultaneously I also noticed that my Facebook feed was full of posts showing images from Concentration Camps, pictures of lost and surviving family and friends, shares from Yad Vashem, the USHMM, Hadassah, etc., and pictures of Israelis standing at attention during the 2 minute siren. I did not notice this volume of attention to Yom HaShoah last year, and it seems like there was a more active commitment to participating, in some form, than ever before.

Given all of this collective energy – both in person and in the virtual / social networking world – I can’t help but think that there’s an active “market”, so to speak, for Yom HaShoah. The commemorations feel as relevant as ever.

Also, there’s been an enormous amount of liturgy written for Yom HaShoah, which are available in almost every flavor of Siddur, and on the internet. It seems like the commemoration is becoming increasingly less arbitrary and confusing and more formalized as these rituals and services are incorporated into prayer books.

A year ago, on Yom HaShoah, I realized how far removed and indifferent I had become to anything related to the Holocaust. That moment inspired me to learn more about my family, and to promote Holocaust remembrance. I have documented this journey on my blog – http://yomhashoahpictureproject.com. So, for personal reasons, Yom HaShoah has become very important, and in many ways transformative, for me. I don’t think that I’m alone on this.

Lauren Bandari says:

I am glad to read so many others disagree with the premise of this article. As a community leader in a relatively small, yet splintered Jewish community, Yom HaShoah allows us to come together in a beautiful way to remember those we lost, those that fought, and those that helped. Certainly we can create other tools (and do) to bring us together, but we all fell the universal and generational connection with honoring the memory of the Holocaust. Our program reaches out beyond the Jewish community, bringing in the local high school’s concert choir, and a very mixed audience of hundreds – a bold statement in a small community.

I hope that you put the Holocaust in the context of the completely atrocious behavior of far too many Jews over the last two centuries at least.

It is a disservice to history to teach the Holocaust as anything but blowback.

If you wish to address genocide, you should study the history of Jewish genocidalism in Palestine and in the Soviet Union.

http://forward.com/articles/135484/top-genocide-scholars-battle-over-how-to-character/

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3342999,00.html

http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/554863_229562600520413_615182682_n.jpg

The above passage comes from Esau’s Tears by Albert Lindemann the eminent UCSB Jewish scholar of modern European and modern Jewish history.

http://books.google.com/books/about/Esau_s_Tears.html?id=NagdhSUgB9oC

GloRay says:

Every time we tell another Jew that his personal — and Jewish — experience is irrelevant, we risk alienating another Jew from the fold. Please think about your words before you blurt them out. As long as Jews comprise less than three per cent of the world’s population, EVERY Jew’s experience — and perspective — has value to our people.

fred capio says:

I am sorry, it was not my intention to alienate you or any-one else.
I am sure that your experience is relevant for you but it does not change
the fact that intermarriage is the most dangerous form of assimilation.

That is a cynical joke – it accounts for the many non-Jews who claimed to be Jewish so they could get out of USSR. There are many of them here in Brooklyn and quite a few elsewhere, even in Israel!

Rachel Lavoie says:

This article was a surprise to read because my synagogue, a suburban Reform synagogue, had a beautiful and meaningful Yom Hashoa commemoration service. Three synagogues came together, with the clergy and musicians having clearly worked very hard to structure it and make it meaningful. It was very powerful and emotional, and we had quite a turnout in our little temple. I had just assumed this was pretty typical.

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