By Alexandra Lerner, Sarah Datnow, And Galia Dondisch
We were asked to reflect upon our experience leading the Yom Ha’Shoah ceremony, an interesting and meaningful ceremony that most of us have been eager to lead. Here are our feelings and thoughts on what Holocaust Remembrance Day really meant to each and every one of us.
For a lot of people, the Holocaust was just something that happened in history, but we, as a Jewish community, believe more in the power of the Jews than others. That’s why having the privilege of leading the ceremony that was moving for many people was something that a lot of the 5th graders took great pride in. We did not feel the pressure of learning lines because the chance to represent the Jewish people was something that we did not see as optional. That’s why during the ceremony we were so passionate and respectful and proud for our people to have survived the terrible and unfortunate event of the Holocaust.
This phenomenon taught us just how important it is to speak up and be an up stander, and also not to discriminate against race, sex, weight, or religion. Rather than standing by and watching people suffer, we choose to help and speak out for others everyday, and not give into the fear like Hitler’s followers did many years before us. If you see something, say something; don’t stand by and watch other people hurting.
Irena Sendler once said, “I was taught by my father that if someone is drowning, you don’t ask if they can swim, you just jump in and help. You see a man drowning, you must try and save him, even if you cannot swim. Fear makes you weak, anger makes you strong.”
The most terrible thing you can do, other than hurting someone physically or verbally, is stand by and do nothing when you know someone needs help. Stand out, be who you are, and don’t ever forget your roots. The war is over, and because of it, we now know this: Always remember, and never once forget.