Honorable Mensch-ion

We Remember

On my three trips to Poland in the early 2000s, I walked through the gates of Auschwitz for a historical tour. It was difficult to fathom the amount of hate that was in the world to consciously build a place like that.

I will never forget our guide telling us, “You are not reliving the Holocaust. No one can do that besides those who survived. You are learning about the Holocaust so that you can ensure it will never happen again.”

One year, we visited Auschwitz on a Friday morning. That evening, as Shabbat came in, I sat with 50 American high school students in a Krakow hotel singing Shalom Aleichem, welcoming angels into our midst.

We were not alone.

An IDF contingent was staying in our hotel and we we assigned to the same ballroom.

At first, we were strangers: Teenagers from Dallas, Texas and Orlando, Florida, and Long Island, NY reciting kiddush next to an Israeli paratrooper, a soldier, another Jew from a land far away. These kids had never been to Israel. They could only imagine the promised land where we would be heading to just days later.

Yet as we sat and sang at Shabbat dinner, they felt the people of Israel like they never had before.

Yesterday, we marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is impossible to remember six million souls. It is impossible to remember the Holocaust on one simple day on the calendar.

But what I can remember today is that young Jews still sing Shalom Aleichem, welcoming those six million souls into our lives, no matter where our Jewish journey takes us.

This Shabbat, we remember so we will never forget.

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