Monday, May 19, 2008

SIN'AH: Hideous can be different

SIN'AH: Hideous can be different

A microcosmic part of it that desperately try to find some rest in some gym club. A young family man has recently lost his mother and had to go to the milluim - to serve his periodic time in the army. He enjoys this time of "cheshbon nefesh - meditation" in serving the country, waith his friends and comrades waho are compassionate but also oblige him to consider a life that is gone and the life he has to accomplish.

Yiddish has an old talmudic saying: we cannot educate our children the way we have been educated because we belong to a time that is over. We have to bring up our children as if we were anticipating the education of our grandchildren because they will survive us and build the future. Thus, it is not possible to state: 'I have plenty of time" or "I don't have time - I miss time terribly" which may turn to be a good reason not to do what we have to do, while much time could be a sign of how empty our lives can really or supposedly be.

Yom HaShoah 5768 is the day commemorated by the State of Israel. In some way, with the project readily developed in 1942 of a Yad VaShem - Deportation and extermination camp center, it is the unique place that takes more and more importance to recall the event of the Endloesung, the final solution to liquidate the Jews and erase them as such from the earth, to begin with Europe. But time passes. The transmission from the survivors to their children, the ability or difficult distance to examine what mainly has happened during World War II in Christened Europe seem to raise new forms of interrogations and this requires a lot of prudence. The existence of the State of the Jews is not even a political fact. Yes, Jews gathered in a country that birthed 60 years ago for giving a shelter to Refugees and Displaced, floating Jews individuals and families.

In the course of the sixty years, silence very slowly paved the way to some kind of word and description, but it took more than 40 years. Some people think they have "time to kill or they can kill time". Absence of action was not the case. Jews faced a hideous shame in being survivors, many of them abandoned and left the Community and the faith of the ancestors. At the end of the war, most communities had lost all their talmidei chacham, professors and we shall miss them for a very long time ahead of one or two generations. They will recompose but in another context of Yiddishkayt.

As time passes, silence is replaced by a sort of constant Holocaust discussion. Indeed, the Jews must understand they were not the only targets of those who wanted to exterminate them. We assist since some years at a breaking down into different options of Yom HaShoah. The UNO day on January 27th calles to human memory and alerts the conscience of the all the nations. In that view, it recalls, but it focus on Jews while other nations do not fel concerned in any way by what has happened. This requires a tremendous pedagogical work and exceptional teaching and understand capacities.

Then, living memories also have the curious ability to remove, not totally wipe out but to consider most of the event of the Shoah as something that will be cured by the good relationships which will be created in the century, say. I don't believe in that. And simultaneously, Jews' descendents consider the event in a specific way that is often superseded by many Christian movements throughout the world. It is possible now for Christianity to "christen" the Shoah. In that case, it is interesting to note that the "Holocaust" turns to be a Christian question of morals and theology that would make the Churches feel allowed to dispose - once again - of the destiny of the Jewish people. The project to go beyond the drama, and at least allow Jews and Arabs to meet - learning how to work together was the genius idea developed for years by the Kibbutz Lochamey HaGettaot (Akko) and the Greek Catholic priest, Emile Shufani. They launched a reflection as how to understand violence in extermination and analyze how to make Jews and Arabs. The challenge is open.

The third breakdown is linked to the "Katastropha/e" in Russian and Greek. This is the official name of the event in these languages. The State of Israel has received a huge amount of former Soviet ans Easyern European newcomers. The will not remain Russian for long. After 10-15 years many serve in the army, feel Israeli minded and Russian by background. The absence of a specific adapted response to their identity as members of this society as Jews, mixed or Orthodox does not help. They are acting at many levels of the society. Locals forget that a newcomer is an immigrant and will not proplonge what what extant at home. Or it may clash.

The rabbinic tradition states (Talmud Eduyot 1:4) that the Talmud like to recording minority points of view. It allows to keep flexible and accept that open opinions can avoiding them to parroting they are always right!

Have a bright week,

Av Alexander

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