The other day I thought it was high time that I updated my blog. I sat down to write my blog post about Pesach and I pondered about what I was going to write, how it feels to celebrate as an Olah Chadesha and even just the mind boggling experiences of shopping in Israel for this Chag. There are so many scenarios I could describe but it seemed fitting that today of all days when I share my thoughts, I talk about Freedom.
It is always a dangerous prospect to leave me alone with my thoughts but on a day like this, freedom is a most fitting theme!
Today is Yom Hashoa, a day when we honour the memory of the six million Jews hunted down and exterminated simply for being Jewish. It is a day deeply ingrained in the collective Jewish psyche and felt in our souls as it will be for generations to come. I sit as a yartzheit (memorial) candle flickers in memory of the martyred six million and an Israeli flag flutters proudly from my balcony and many others across the country as we ready ourselves for Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day) next week. It is a fitting tribute from a proud nation to our country and her people. We are reminded on a day like today of the importance of the existence of this country. How many could have found refuge, been saved, found hope in the existence of a Jewish state?
This morning,Israelcame to a stand still as the memorial siren wailed at 10am. It was profoundly emotional for me to stand in complete silent memory. Tears streamed down my face as I contemplated the magnitude of 6 million lives lost. Who were these people? Who could they have become? What became of my family? I remember the names of those whose fates we know. Aleksander Carpel for whom my father is named. Caroline Carpel, Miriam Carpel and countless other relatives whose names are forever captured in the vaults of Yad Vashem by Lazarus Karpel, who bore witness. I remember with fondness the fact that brothers spelt their surnames differently. These were people. Loved by many. Murdered by Nazis. Today, remembered by me, living in freedom in the State of Israel.
I thought about the enormity of making Aliyah. The opportunity it brings for us to live in freedom in our tiny, democratic, fiercely passionate and proud Jewish State. There is that word freedom again!
We woke up this morning to the breaking news that Chief Terrorist and public enemy number 1, Osama Bin Laden had been killed. In an interesting twist of irony, both the death of this madman and another, the architect of the Holocaust, Adolph Hitler was announced May 1!
Again the word freedom rings. Bin Laden has kept the world in collective imprisonment as his drip fed terrorist rhetoric through messages broadcast via the internet and rare video appearance. Is it a coincidence that on Yom Hashoa, we hear of the demise of yet another hate-filled lunatic?
As Yom Hashoa draws to a close this evening, the wreaths placed at memorials around the country will dry, normal broadcast scheduling on TV will resume and the flames of yahrtzeit candles will die out. But we will forever remember the vow that we have sworn, NEVER FORGET and NEVER AGAIN.