Be Love, Show Love, Teach Love
“I must say, this feels like Germany in 1935.” I listened to a Holocaust survivor share her story, her truths, her soul last night on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Rememberance Day, during a Zikaron BaSalon event, bringing memories of the Shoah into living rooms the world over. Without being overly alarmist, she called our attention to the terrifying realities of being a Jew today amid rising, multifaceted, acutely dangerous threats of anti-Semitism across the board. “We think we are Polish, we are German, we are American, we, we, we, we… are Jewish!” The powerful octogenarian Tzipi exclaimed, speaking to an inextricable piece of our core identity — as a people who have been persecuted, singled out, blamed, denigrated, threatened, oppressed, dehumanized, enslaved, murdered en masse all throughout time.
Even in the darkest of periods, unfathomably painful circumstances and treacherous times to be a Jew, she wore that honor proudly — and pressed the importance of feeling at home for the first time, of finding her people upon arrival in Israel, after being a sickly and stateless displaced “filthy Jew" tossed about Europe following the war. She is now the matriarch of a Jewish family in America that shouldn’t exist, given the narrow misses (true miracles!) of recent history, holding up her children and grandchildren as blessed revenge against the forces who tried to kill her, and the people, organizations, press and nations who willingly remained silent. Somehow, some way, Tzipi has chosen to “be love, show love, teach love” — and it is genuine, beautiful, infectious. She led us to light six candles in memory of the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, raise a glass of wine to life – L’Chaim! – and recount the stories of our people, compelling all to act decisively, raise vigilance, use our voices, condemn hatred, challenge bigotry, pass policy and do more to ensure no such atrocity can ever come to pass again, whether to Jews or any among us. These are the Jewish values of tikkun olam and tzedakah and chesed with which I was raised and hope to instill in my own children one day. “We unite. We talk. We share." Oh yes, we do — and I vow to carry forth that will to live, to defy odds, to innovate, to thrive!
Thank you to all who gather us, who teach us, who remind us — especially Shlomi and Reut.