Tonight begins Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. We commemorate the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. We remember the survivors and honor them for their courage and resilience. This is a solemn day where we grapple with the darkest time in our history.
Yom HaShoah almost immediately follows Passover, a time where we remember the bitterness of slavery and also joyously celebrate our freedom. It is interesting to move so quickly from these extremes of human experience. Bondage. Liberation. The Holocaust.
As we move into the deep reflection and commemoration of Yom HaShoah, I want to remind us to always keep hope and freedom in our hearts. While we are definitely on the other side of the Passover experience, I want to bring something forward from our Shul School students. During our Dessert Seder last week, we talked about how matzah teaches us about Freedom. Each student made a “Freedom Matzah” to display on our Shul School wall, by finishing this statement:
Some ways we know we are free…
…being kind to everyone
…having a warm, safe home
…by working together
…not letting yourself be bossed around by other people
…having access to food, shelter, and clean water
…being able to do what you want
…making homes for other animals
…by being creative
…putting love first
Every year, when we retell the Passover story, we are to embody it–to feel as if we ourselves were taken out of Egypt, these unbelievable tight places of humiliation and oppression. Let’s bring these inspiring ideas of freedom with us as we remember our shared tragedy, together.