Heichal Shlomo & the Great Synagogue of Jerusalem

posted 1 May 2019, 16:28 by Charles Greene

Heichal Shlomo & the Great Synagogue of Jerusalem.

Tomorrow night, we begin marking the annual Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day. Colloquially known in Israel and abroad as “Yom haShoah, this abbreviated reference robs us of perhaps the most important, shrill, intense message of the day; survival is achieved by heroes. Those who find the strength, the foresight, the willpower to overcome the horrors of the unthinkable and carry on.

Tomorrow night, we are going to sit at my dad’s place and talk of the family. Those who did it – fighting, some of them eventually chasing the Nazis all the way back to Germany, and those who didn’t make it, leaving the survivors to pick up the pieces. If your relatives were in Eastern (or central) Europe at the time, chances are we all have those stories to tell; all of them the same, each of them unique.

On the stage of Beit Avi Chai on the corner of King George and JNF street in Jerusalem, they were showing See Under: Love, based on David Grossman’s eponymous book. If you haven’t read it you should. I still remember my first time when the book was still a new release, over 30 years ago.

David Grossman speaks of the silence that surrounded in the 50’s the whole subject of the Holocaust in the families of many survivors. His protagonist Momik grows up in a Jerusalem neighbourhood catching up occasional phrases and building his own picture of what happened through the efforts of his parents to protect their son from knowing the truth.

Just as Israel is ready to celebrate yet another birthday, the country takes a deep breath and pauses to tell the story. The story, while full of unimaginable horrors, while overflowing with pain and suffering, is a tale of our nation pulling through and finding its strength.

The heroism never ceased (if you forgot or doubted it for a moment watch below the message from Rabbi Goldstein of Chabad Poway, who survived the horrific shooting attack on the last day of Pesach).

Am Yisrael Chai. Get together, go to your friends and family, go to your non-Jewish neighbours and tell them the story.

Regards from Eretz haKodesh, I’ll be back home next week; right in time to celebrate Yom haAtzmaut.

Shabbat Shalom,