Today is a confluence of important moments. It is Yom Hashoa. Day of Holocaust Remembrance in the Jewish calendar. And so the brutality and cruelty and torture and mass murder of the Jews of Europe is a harsh and difficult reminder of the human capacity for evil and depravity. Death of 6 million Jews is what we memorialize today. The heroes and partisans who resisted the evil of the Nazis is what we honor today. The Righteous gentiles who risked their lives to save their Jewish neighbors we celebrate to today. The survivors of the camps and ghettos who experienced the edge of death but have come back to life we honor today. It is truly mechayei hameitim–the resurrection of the dead. Just as in the gevurot prayer of the Shemonah Esreh/Amidah. The Jews of Europe are rebuilding even still with new synagogues being erected. (Don’t forget to join me and the City of West Hollywood at 5 pm in Fiesta Hall at Plummer Park 1200 N. Vista, West Hollywood, CA for our annual Holocaust memorial observance. This year we will première a new piece of music based on Elie Wiesel’s “Night”. Cantor Saltzman helped to write and will sing with three other voices. We will conclude with the candlelighting at the Babi Yar memorial. )
Even though Anti-Semitism still rages on in many places-we Jews claim our place in the nations of the world.
Yes from the edge of death-we claim life and living. Blessed are the memories of the righteous for they inspire us to live!
For my family it too is a day from the edge of death to life. As I have written previously, my son’s father was in transplant surgery on Friday night and Saturday evening. He has come from the edge of death to life. To see him alert after surgery, sitting in a chair, eating soup and salad (we even shared a popsicle snack!) was startling, shocking, amazing and wonderful. It was all a little hard to take in–for him and for all of his friends and family. Indeed from the edge of death-to life. He has experienced mechayei meitim—a resurrection. Yesterday the first day after surgery-even the nurses who cared for him in CCU and were not assigned to him came to visit and cheer him on. They too were amazed at his inner strength, his spirit and tenacity. Yes, from the edge of death to life.
A strange confluence for me. Yom Hashoa and a new heart. From the edge of death to life.
Today is the 12th day of the counting of the omer.