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Yom HaShoah 2024 Message from Rabbi Neil

Yom HaShoah 2024

This year, Yom HaShoah feels different. It’s not just a commemoration of our tormented past. It’s not just a reminder for us to prevent the genocide of others or to stand up for the weak and oppressed. On this Yom HaShoah, we feel one with our discriminated and persecuted brethren during the Holocaust and throughout the ages. We feel the pain of the hundreds of families who lost loved ones on October 7th and its aftermath, and we are shocked and appalled at the riots rocking our best campuses and the capitulation of their leadership.

On Sunday night at the Mid Island-YJCC, a survivor of the Holocaust shared his story as a youth on the “Kindertransport.” As a child in Germany, he was barred from the German public schools. The government discouraged the local Germans from doing business with his father, forcing the man to travel ever wider to make a living. Even before Kristallnacht, the Nazis evicted his family from his home. Thankfully, the British agreed to accept ten thousand Jewish children, and while he was temporarily separated from his parents, he and his brother were able to survive the war.

When asked how he feels about what’s going on today, he replied with deep, albeit sad wisdom: “Antisemitism existed before the Holocaust. It’s showing its ugly head now, and it will reappear once more. Yet, all the while, the Jew remains, survives, and, many times, thrives.”

To quote a phrase perhaps derived from our story, “We will overcome.” Hamas played its cards well, but we’ve been on this road before. We’ve beaten the odds for the past three thousand years. We’re just one-half of one percent of the world’s population, but they’re all thinking about us. The fact that all this is occurring after Passover should give us hope. Just as we were redeemed at this time of year thousands of years ago, so shall we be validated and vindicated once more.

The tide will turn,

R’ Neil

Manetto Hill Jewish Center
244 Manetto Hill Road, Plainview, NY 11803
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