Addressing the silent child (This Bisl Torah was featured in this week’s Jewish Journal)
This year, I’m most concerned about the silent son in the haggadah, the child who doesn’t know how to tell the story. It means the rest of us, the ones able to speak up and speak out, are cultivating generations of ignorance. And where there is silence, there is a gaping hole ready to filled by fallacies and lies. I leave soon for my second journey with March of the Living. I will travel with Sinai Temple, primarily parents in our Sinai Akiba Academy community, Jews who vow to bring back the lessons of the Holocaust, teaching our children that anti-Semitism continues to lurk in places we least expect. These community members are reminding our children that when a high schooler thinks it’s funny to give a Nazi salute, it’s inexcusable on seder night to leave out our memories of tragedy, hope, terror and resilience.
In Tim O’Brien’s revelations of the Vietnam War, he writes, “What stories can do, I guess, is make things present.” The retelling of the stories of the Holocaust, to those at the seder table and perhaps, most importantly, the ones missing, will enable the chain of memory to link to future generations. But to stare blankly at the silent child is to join in the brewing of a precarious future for the Jews of tomorrow.
Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom