Yom HaShoah

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54 Responses

  1. Moshe says:

    Toby,

    While your analysis is correct for the most part, I think you must diffrentiate between the USA and Israel. In Israel, where Yom Hashoah is commemorated on a national level, to publicly disrespect the day, or to publicly announce “Why I don’t Commemorate Yom Hashoah”, is no longer a philosophical discussion – it is an offence to those who lived through the Holocaust – both religious and non-religious. As Yom Hashoah is now a national day of mourning – irregardless of the reasons for that specific day – to disrespect the memorials is to disrespect the survivors. Basic Kavod Habrios requires you to care for the feelings of others – especially the elderly who have gone through a living hell, and all they want is a bit of rememberance.

    In the USA, where Yom Hashoah commemorations are not such a big issue, Yom Hashoah has far less an impact on everyone.

    I fear that nowadays, instead of looking at the correct way of acting in particular situations, we need to show that we are super smart. We examine the reasons for a particular day of commemoration – even though the reasons are now moot, and bash the day of commemoration because of those reasons, trampling over the feelings of people who care deeply about what occured. Having been in Israel for quite a number of Yom Hashoahs, I think that the general feeling in Israel is one of sadness and loss – not one of “We’re so great – we rose up against the Germans”.

    Instead of teaching your students how to separate themselves from the Klal, try to show them the correct way of living. Respecting other people does not run contrary to the Torah – and maybe stressing points such as this would help us grow closer to the Geulah. You can still criticize – but no need for such a negative statement.

  2. Yoinoson Schreiber says:

    ‘We mourn more deeply and more painfully than anyone else, because we knew the victim. We know the life and blood and heart of our Jewish grandparents when they were still alive.’

    Why did u have to add this last bit???

  3. Joe Schick says:

    “We have a date for remembering and grieving and weeping over our losses. That date is Tisha B’Av.”

    But we also mourn during sefirah for the Talmidim of R. Akiva who died, we observe fast days, etc. The only real reason Yom Hashoash is shunned is because of the purported association with secular Zionism.

  4. klal yisrael says:

    i hear what u r saying, but…
    Yom Hashoa exists now and is fairly well enshrined.
    most jews commemorate that day.
    would it be so terrible for us religious jews to join the rest of our people?
    how much good would be done as opposed to how much real bad?

  5. Edvallace says:

    Well said! Thank you!

  6. DovBear says:

    In a similar vein, Victor Frankl, in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, describes how those of his fellow prisoners who were religious Jews, especially chassidim, were able to keep up their will to live in the concentration camps. They maintained their internal spiritual independence and superiority to their Nazi captors, while people who had lost all sense of meaning in their lives, especially the most assimilated German Jewish professors and doctors, quickly succumbed to despair and threw themselves on the electrified fences. He writes that the religious Jews had a sense of themselves as part of the flow of Jewish history and could make some sense of their ordeal, while the most secular Jews could not make sense of any of it and were in a state of shock and disbelief

    At best this is selective history; at worst it’s wishful thinking. Though Victor Frankl may have chosen not to write about it (I have not read his book) other historians tell of hasidic families that (lo alainu) sold their daughters for bread, and worse. It’s a terrible slander, and a terrible generalization to say that “most assimilated German Jewish professors and doctors, quickly succumbed to despair and threw themselves on the electrified fences.” Though you may choose to beleive that secular Jews lost their dignity, while religious Jews did not, the real world is not nearly so neat and tidy.

    I wish you could have shared your important thoughts about Jewish memory without including the cheap shots at other Jews.

  7. Toby Katz says:

    “Instead of teaching your students how to separate themselves from the Klal, try to show them the correct way of living” — Moshe

    I am at a loss to see where in my post Moshe found me “teaching my students to separate from the Klal.” I did mention the tragedy and travesty that secular Jews have chosen (well, maybe not “chosen”–since so many are simply ignorant) to separate THEMSELVES from the klal.

  8. DovBear says:

    “We have a date for remembering and grieving and weeping over our losses. That date is Tisha B’Av.”

    It’s simply not true to say that Tisha B’av is the only day for mourning. As noted, we have other fast days (including tzom gedalia) and Sefira which (according to Samsom Repahael Hirsch in Chorev) has as much to do with the Crusades as it does with the loss of Rabbi Akiva’s school. We also have the long established right to establish, as a community, days for mourning, for repentance, and for celebration.

    Yom Hashoa isn’t rejected by the Haredim “because we have Tisha Bav.” It’s rejected by the Haredim because it wasn’t their idea, with the business about Tisha B’av being a convinient dodge.

  9. Moshe Feldman says:

    While the Agudah justifiably did not want to join in the over-emphasis on the Warsaw Ghetto, the Agudah today is fighting the battles of the past. Today, in Israel and America, Yom Hashoa is focused almost entirely on the Holocaust. The secular Israelis are no longer embarrassed of the Jews who went “like sheep to the slaughter.” There is no reason for the Agudah to avoid joining the rest of the Jewish people in commemorating the Shoah.

    The excuse that we do not mourn during the month of Nissan is just an excuse. The commemoration that takes place is not mourning; it is remembering—just as during the sefirah period we remember the talmidim of Rabbi Akiva who died, and the Jewish communities decimated during the Crusades. (In fact, Prof. Sperber proves in his work Minhagei Yisrael that the customs of the sefirah period were intensified in the aftermath of the Crusades.)

    In fact, Toby, the reason you chose discuss the Shoah with your 12th grade class is precisely because you know very well that no such discussion occurs on Tisha B’Av. The experiment of commemorating the Holocaust on Tisha B’Av has failed, while Yom Hashoa has succeeded.

  10. Joel Shurkin says:

    You missed the point in comment 7. By rejecting Yom Hashoah and teaching your children to reject it because you disagree philosophically, it is you who are separating from the Klal. The overwhelming number of the Tribe accept that that holiday, accept that the vicitms of Shoah deserve respect whatever the circumstances, and deserve to be remembered. That secular Jews in the Israeli government decided on the date is irrelevant. Whether we more liberal Jews are ignorant or not also is beside the point. That other tragedies have been forgotten is lamentable. And, if I were a Shoal survivor, I would find your teaching highly offensive. In fact, even though I am not (thank G-d), if was my daughter in your class, I’d remove her.

  11. Rebbe!!! says:

    Toby:

    You answer your own question but, simultaneously, seem unwilling to accept the obvious conclusion. Today, most secular Jews are just that, simply ignorant, otherwise known as “tinok shenishba”. They have not “forgotten” anything – they never learned in the first place. And so, it is unfair for you or your husband to criticize them, rather we must seize opportunities of common interest and concern to bond with them and hopefully educate them to a richer understanding of the “flow of Jewish history.”

    Yom Hashoah, Yom Haatzmaut (I can’t wait to see what you tell your students about that one) and Yom Yerushalayim provide these opportunities. It is a tragic miscalculation on our part to separate ourselves from – yes – the “klal” the masses of “acheinu bais yisroel” who we believe are, after all, searching for some connection. When we refuse to participate with them in a meaningful way, what could be more alienating? The onus is upon us, not them.

  12. Yaakov says:

    Thank you, Toby. You are so right. The mold of Yom HaShoah was (intentionally) set incorrectly. We may not want to celebrate it in our schools. But what about attending JCC Yom Hashoah programming? In out of town communities, it is one of the few annual events in which we can positively interact with the heterodox communities, recalling our shared history.

  13. Hanan says:

    “In America, the Holocaust has become a substitute religion, an alternate source of Jewish identity to replace the original Torah. Instead of learning Torah, we have Holocaust Studies.”

    What is that? Don’t you think your going a bit over the top, a substitute religion? So… if the holocaust never happened, then we would all be ovservant jews. And, there’s nothing wrong with learning about the Holocaust. It stands independantly wheather you learn Torah or not. One has nothing to do with the other. Why on earth shouldent we have Holocaust Studies? Because you feel people have made it some new religion? Thats nonsense. Holocaust is not only for us Jews, but it teaches everyone else. (Has anyone heard of the Paperclips Project?) And the notion that the Romans killing of the Jews and the Nazis killing of the Jews is similiar is also luducrious. Six million Jews were killed by the Nazis, I have never heard of that amount being killed by the Romans. To the Romans, we were just another pebble in their thirst for World domination. The Nazis reasons for the extermination of the Jews in my opinion is far worse. Beside world domination we were sub-human and rats. As much as you want to convince yourself, Tisha B’av is not for the Holocaust. It always has, and always will be a day that we remember the destruction of the Temples.

    “Yom Hashoa isn’t rejected by the Haredim “because we have Tisha Bav.” It’s rejected by the Haredim because it wasn’t their idea, with the business about Tisha B’av being a convinient dodge.” – Dov Bear

    “The experiment of commemorating the Holocaust on Tisha B’Av has failed, while Yom Hashoa has succeeded.” – Moshe Feldman

    I coulden’t have said it better myself.

  14. mb says:

    Yom Hashoa was instituted as a lead up to Yom haZikron and Yom Hatzmaut( and now Yom Yerushalyim).Homilitically it certainly mirrors the Pesach theme of” start in shame end in praise”. The arguments about Nissan are somewhat weak, as we have Yisker, and mourn the death of R.Akiva`s students, etc.
    If you cannot see the uniqueness of this event, I’m sad. On Sept 11th, 3000 people were wiped out. Between, september 1939 and May of 1945, 5 1/2 years 3000 jews were wiped out EVERY DAY. You do the math.The numbers you quote from the Roman destruction were ridiculous.
    Whether the State should have instituted this day back in 1951 is moot. It exists.

  15. Sholom Simon says:

    The mold of Yom HaShoah was (intentionally) set incorrectly.

    Exactly. But what we have here is the difference between a l’chatchila and a b’dieved situation. Now that klal yisroel embraces it, we need to be careful not to be seen as gratuitously separating ourselves.

    We may not want to celebrate it in our schools. But what about attending JCC Yom Hashoah programming? In out of town communities, it is one of the few annual events in which we can positively interact with the heterodox communities, recalling our shared history.

    Well put. We must find halachically acceptable ways to meet them where they are — not where we wish they would be.

  16. Yaakov Menken says:

    Mrs. Katz,

    Thank you for this excellent and perceptive post. Your critics don’t seem to get it.

    When I was growing up in suburban Princeton, Holocaust survivors were people who came to class to lecture. Precious few of us had relatives. My mother-in-law’s parents, on the other hand, came to America before the war, lost their entire families, and set up their shul as a place of support and welcome to survivors. I know more survivors in Beth Abraham, “Rav Hertzberg’s shul,” than I knew from birth through age 20.

    In Princeton the Rabbi questioned how anyone could retain his faith after the Holocaust. In Beth Abraham a man with a number on his arm blew shofar every year — as he had at least once in Auschwitz — until his passing a few years ago. In his memory, I find the question “how could anyone have faith afterwards” highly offensive, when asked by comfy Americans with no survivor relatives.

    DovBear, you weren’t in the camps, and Victor Frankl (who was not religious, by the way) was. Who are you to question what he saw with his eyes? Your exceptions merely prove the rule. The Chassidim had “what to live for,” while those who placed their faith in secular German life saw every reason to live, crumble. It should be obvious that suicide and despair would be far more prevalent in the latter group.

    Other specific days of fasting are not days of mourning like Tisha B’Av, and of course also have a direct connection to the day on the calendar when they fall — we do not choose days out of the blue. It is not merely that we have Tisha B’Av and that Nissan is inappropriate — but, as both Toby and Joe Schick mentioned (yes, this is real, not “purported”), because Yom HaShoah was created, and its date selected, by secular Zionists with a clear agenda of their own.

    The message sent by Yom HaShoah is that the warriors who fought back are our new heroes — thus the date (also ideal because of its proximity to Yom HaAtzmaut) is that of the Warsaw uprising, and the actual name, “Yom HaShoah v’ha’gevurah,” means the Day of Catastrophe and The Strength. The hardly-subtle message is that the martyrs who did not fight represent the old school, the old “galus Jew.” The message of the date of Yom HaShoah is not neutral. It is a disgrace! It accuses 5.95 million holy martyrs of “not doing more.” Reb Usher and Reb Itche ask for aliyos on the day they were liberated, not Yom HaShoah. Are they not heroes? I know them both, and they are.

    “The experiment of commemorating the Holocaust on Tisha B’Av has failed, while Yom Hashoa has succeeded” could be said only by one with a profoundly limited vision of history. Have you not been reading the Jewish papers? Every year the commemorations in the U.S. get smaller, and the organizers argue about what is to blame. Joel, you should know — the Baltimore Jewish Times had a big spread last year on precisely this issue.

    Hanan, Tisha B’Av is only about the Temples? I don’t know what Kinos you read, but mine move beyond the Temples about half-way through. We then mourn events like the Inquisition, the pogroms, and the Chmielniki massacres. Did you know that when growing up, I never knew that the Crusades were a Jewish tragedy? When does the JCC commemorate them? When do we mourn the pogroms when Tisha B’Av is forgotten?

    The answer to “those who don’t know better” is not to cast our lot with their error, but to teach and inform. We cannot shy from the painful truth that an effort to commemorate Yom HaShoah that ignores Tisha B’Av will, as Toby hinted, not stand the test of time. The survivors are reaching the end of their lives, and Yom HaShoah commemorations are shrinking, and this is no coincidence. Precisely because you have a “JCC commemoration of Yom HaShoah,” and no such notice of Tisha B’Av, it cannot survive. If the organizers have forgotten what their great-great-grandparents endured, they can give no compelling reason to their great-grandchildren to hear that message.

    But 100 years from now, Kinos will still be said for the martyred of the Holocaust every Tisha B’Av, just as they are today.

  17. joel rich says:

    While I personally agree with Sholom, I’m not sure that his approach is consistent with Charedei hashkafa which IIUC
    requires a separation under many conditions. As others have pointed out, this is not only a narrow halachik issue but a metahalachik issue as well.
    KT

  18. DovBear says:

    DovBear, you weren’t in the camps, and Victor Frankl (who was not religious, by the way) was. Who are you to question what he saw with his eyes? Your exceptions merely prove the rule. The Chassidim had “what to live for,” while those who placed their faith in secular German life saw every reason to live, crumble. It should be obvious that suicide and despair would be far more prevalent in the latter group.

    Please read what I wrote again. I did not question what he “saw with his own eyes” I merely pointed out the obvious: he could not possible have seen everything, and other historians (indeed other survivors) have other stories to tell, stories that don’t fit so neatly into Mrs. Katz’s version of the world.

  19. baalabus says:

    Secular and/or Zionist Jews were not the only ones to suggest a special and seperate day (i.e., NOT tisha b’av) for mourning the victims of the Shoah. Your characterization of this notion as anti-Charedi is plain incorrect, and I find it slanderous.

    R. Aryeh Leib Spitz OBM, former Av Beis Din of Riga, Rabbi in NJ after the war (a big mesader gittin in fact), and talmid of R. Chaim Ozer actually suggested a special day of mourning for the “harugei hachurban”. I am looking at a photocopy of his 6 page proposal written in the Rabbinic journal Hamaor (sorry no date).

    The point is not the his proposal was rejected. It is that your characterization is both false and slanderous.

  20. Shawn Landres says:

    Thank you, Toby Katz, for your excellent post, and R’ Yaakov, for your response.

    I just want to add that there is another date in the mix — January 27, the date of the liberation of Auschwitz. This is the date that the United Kingdom and a number of other European countries have adopted as Holocaust memorial day. As a secular commemoration, this date strikes me as more appropriate than the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. It does not dishonor the martyrs in any way, and it is a reminder to perpetrators and collaborators (then and now) of their responsibility for what happened (and happens).

    Just as importantly, it does not interfere with the sacred calendar from Pesach to Shavuot. As the Israeli anthropologist Don Handelman points out, records of the debates about Yom HaShoah and Yom HaZikaron included discussion about how to shoehorn the post-Shoah version of the Zionist redemption narrative into the Pesach story.

    I would propose that Yom HaShoah be acknowledged in a secular way on January 27 and in a religious way (with appropriate additions to the liturgy) on Tisha B’Av. It might also be helpful to fix Yom HaZikaron and Yom Haatzmaut on the secular calendar, rather than on the religious one, so that it is not _always_ two weeks after Pesach.

  21. Toby Katz says:

    Joel Shurkin wrote:
    “You missed the point in comment 7. By rejecting Yom Hashoah and teaching your children to reject it because you disagree philosophically, it is you who are separating from the Klal.”

    YOU seem to have missed my opening paragraph! Even though Agudist-leaning schools like Bais Yakov do not commemorate Yom Hashoah, I actually DID–in my own way. All my lesson plans this past week had to do with Yom Hashoah. I told the girls the same things I wrote on C-C, including some inspiring and sad stories from Yaffa Eliach’s book. If you did have a daughter in my class, I believe you would have been happy with my lessons this week and would have considered them, overall, to be fair and balanced.

  22. Lumpy Rutherford says:

    >By rejecting Yom Hashoah and teaching
    >your children to reject it because
    >you disagree philosophically, it is you
    >who are separating from the Klal

    Most of the “Klal” are מחללי-שבת, are שבת adherents separating themselves from the Klal?

  23. Yaakov Menken says:

    DB, you wrote not merely that “he could not have seen everything,” but “at best this is selective history; at worst it’s wishful thinking” and “Victor Frankl may have chosen not to write about it.” He was there. You called an eyewitness report “wishful thinking.”

    You also misconstrued what he said in order to accuse him of slander. The full quote does not have him saying “most assimilated German Jewish professors and doctors, quickly succumbed to despair.” Not at all! Rather, he said that the most assimilated were most liable to be those who had “lost all sense of meaning in their lives” who then “quickly succumbed to despair.” The former would have been an offensive generalization had he said it; what he actually said is simply his recollection, and probably true.

    baalabus, no one questions that there were Orthodox survivors and great Rabbis who suggested a separate day. This has no bearing on Toby’s point that the secular Zionists who not only established a day, but that day, looked down on shtetl Jews and chose the date of the Warsaw uprising with their own agenda in mind. That’s not slander, it’s fact. What the chosen date says about all the kedoshim (holy martyrs) who never lifted a hand — that’s slander. Shawn’s suggestion is much better!

  24. Lumpy Rutherford says:

    >Today, most secular Jews are just that,
    >simply ignorant, otherwise known as
    >“tinok shenishba”.

    In your estimation.

  25. Lumpy Rutherford says:

    >What is that? Don’t you think your going a
    >bit over the top, a substitute religion?

    My congregational rabbi (YU grad, BTW) in Kentucky, said the exact same thing in the early ’80’s.

    Frankly, it’s a view that resonates with me.

  26. mb says:

    Amongst many of the strange. incorrect passages in this piece, is this nonsense,

    It is not true that Orthodox Jews do not mourn our dead. Just the opposite. We mourn more deeply and more painfully than anyone else, because we knew the victim. We know the life and blood and heart of our Jewish grandparents when they were still alive.

    Mourn more deeply than anybody else!! What arrogance!!

  27. DovBear says:

    DB, you wrote not merely that “he could not have seen everything,” but “at best this is selective history; at worst it’s wishful thinking” and “Victor Frankl may have chosen not to write about it.” He was there. You called an eyewitness report “wishful thinking.”

    Not “wishful thinking” on the part of Victor Frankel! The “wishful thinking and selective history” was done by Toby Katz who’s cherrypicked a quote from Victor Frankel for the purpose of shoehorning the Holocaust into her view of the world.

  28. Hanan says:

    “Yom HaShoah was created, and its date selected, by secular Zionists with a clear agenda of their own.”

    Everyone has an agenda, lets not fool ourselves.
    As much as we remember previous disasters in the history of the Jewish people on Tisha B’Av, it will always have the connection to the destruction of the temples (sorry, but thats how it is in my orthodox community that I live in). We can discuss all the “hidden” messages those evil zionists may tried to bring with Yom Ha’Shoah, but the fact is, that the Holocaust is worse than the crusades, the inquisition or the pogroms. Maybe next week, we can write a post about creating a special day for each of those catastrophies.

    So we are not allowed to listen to music , or shave till lag b’omer because of the 25,000 students that we killed. How is it that we have specific days to remember them but not the six million that perished in the Holocaust? Why couldent we have just remembered those 25,000 on Tisha b’av as well. Why did they deserve their a special a time that we are told not to do this or that. Yet here, we are arguing over 1 day that we set aside to remember 6,000,000 of our people and Toby criticizes it as if we look at it as a substitute religion. ( I still cant get over that).

    What i also don’t understand is , if Toby has such a problem with Yom Hashoah, why is she teaching it to her students. If she doesent have a problem with it, whats the point of all this?

  29. Max says:

    There is no need to advertise to nonobservant Jews and to the Israeli society that we do not mark Yom HaShoa. But there is also no reason for Torah observant Jews anywhere in the world to mark Yom HaShoa, simply because it was designated by Israeli governement, whatever its reasons were. (especially considering their actual reasons, as correctly illucidated by Mrs. Katz.). The exclusive glorification of the heros of the Warsaw Ghetto does in a way insult memories of millions of Jews who did not merit to extract the physical revenge from Nazi savages. We, the Torah Jews must be constantly reminded of that, even though we don’t have to publicise it to those who may be offended and, or are not yet ready to understant. There is everpresent danger for us to forget that the overreliance on the sword is a stolen trait from Eisav.
    Even if the Jewish people can elect to have a separate day to commemorate Halocaust, such day would have to be designated by our Torah leaders, not government of Israel. I think Mrs. Katz did a great job stressing these points to her Bais Yaakov class and to the rest of us.
    As far as the dangers of separating from the Klal, my answer is Tikkun HaOlam, just kidding. We have responsibility to lead, not follow, and remember that we are the Klal of tomorrow, as the phenomenah of nonobservant Jewry is not likely to last for many generations.

  30. Michael Feldstein says:

    He writes that the religious Jews had a sense of themselves as part of the flow of Jewish history and could make some sense of their ordeal, while the most secular Jews could not make sense of any of it and were in a state of shock and disbelief.
    ——————–
    Although I don’t have any statistics at hand to prove it, my strong guess is that an equal percentage of Orthodox Jews and secular Jews rejected their belief in God after the Holocaust, which would call into question this theory. The magnitude of horror that was present during the Holocaust became a great equalizer–not only in that Hitler did not distinguish between observant and non-observant Jews but because it transcended any understanding that religious observance might have been able to provide.

    It is not true that Orthodox Jews do not mourn our dead. Just the opposite. We mourn more deeply and more painfully than anyone else, because we knew the victim. We know the life and blood and heart of our Jewish grandparents when they were still alive.
    ———————————–
    I find this statement a bit distatsteful. While secular Jews may not have as strong an understanding of their history and their heritage, they are just as capable as Orthodox Jews to mourn as deeply for their fellow Jews. Who says mourning must be tied to levels of religious observance?

  31. dilbert says:

    I dont understand why there is OPPOSITION to Yom HaShoa. Can you ONLY mourn on Tisha b’av? what about Asarah b’Tevet? Isn’t that the designated day to say kaddish for a loved one who perished in the Holocaust and the exact date is not known? Is it so terrible that Yom HaShoa was established by secular Zionists? does that automatically make it treif?

    How about accepting that people needed and probably still do need a day to mourn, or at least acknowledge the shoah. That some people in part maintain their Jewish identity by remembering the Shoah. obviously it is not the ideal way to celebrate Jewishness, but our history, all of it, is a part of us, and that bit is better than nothing. Maybe when they come for the Yom Hashoa you can get them to come for yom ha’atzmaut, lag ba’omer, shavuot. Why do you have to be so against Yom Hashoa? It serves a purpose, it provides a source of identification with the tribe, and we should have a set time to remember the massacre of so many of our ancestors and family. If we dont remember, the world wont.

    Maybe for the right wing the Shoah is a problem because of the failure of concept of da’as Torah. That unfortunately many Torah leaders didn’t encourage their people to leave, or make Aliyah(let me make this absolutely clear, I am certainly not criticizing any one for decisions made in that climate). In fact, some biographies have been altered to conceal decisions made regarding leaving or staying in Europe.

    The sad fact is that Jews, whatever their beliefs, whomever they followed, frum, not frum, assimilated, chassidim, misnagdim, all of them were murdered together, for being Jews. And we cant even get together and remember them in a unified fashion. That, to me, is unimaginably sad.

  32. Hanan says:

    Im still trying to understand how on earth “glorifing” those that fought in the ghetto uprising disgraces the millions that died. Can someone explain to me the relevance of uncovering the “secret, twisted” reasons behind this evil zionist holiday have to do with why we celebrate Yom Hashoa. If it was done for more positive reasons as you would say, would the Chareidi world all off a sudden recognise this day? I think the answer is NO. So whats the point of Yaakov Menken or Max to bring it up as if it makes a difference.

  33. Moshe Feldman says:

    Yaakov Menken wrote:
    “Have you not been reading the Jewish papers? Every year the commemorations in the U.S. get smaller, and the organizers argue about what is to blame…. But 100 years from now, Kinos will still be said for the martyred of the Holocaust every Tisha B’Av, just as they are today.”

    Really? Just what percentage of the kinos in most shuls are devoted to the Holocaust? And is the recitation of kinos really enough—how much does the average yeshiva bochur really know about the Holocaust? How many have read even one book or seen a movie about the Holocaust? Perhaps the Yom Hashoa commemorations are getting smaller (certainly, most of the survivors have passed away and the memory of the Holocaust is getting dim), but there is no doubt that those who commemorate Yom Hasho’a are much more aware of the events of the Holocaust than those who do not.

  34. Ben Chorin says:

    Toby,
    I appreciate your subversion. And you’re right about the twisted motivation of the choice of date, but that is now — as you know — utterly passe.

    “Ben”

  35. ilana says:

    Hi Toby.
    Good piece.

    If I recall correctly, there was once a specific fast day for Tach v’Tat. It petered out after a few hundred years or so, and the martyrs of that period are now remembered on Tisha B’Av.

    I don’t think that’s a bad model for the Holocaust. Now, in our generation and presumably for at least a few more, the loss is so fresh that it requires its own commemoration. I personally prefer 10 b’Tevet to Yom HaShoah, though. The observances of Yom HaShoah often do reflect the unfortunate tendency to deify the Holocaust.

    The most moving Holocaust commemoration I ever experienced took place on an ordinary weekday minyan at an Orthodox shul. One of the regulars, an older man, received an aliyah because he was observing yahrzeit. As the gabbai recited a prayer for the niftar, we realized that he was not reciting only one name, or only two – there must have been several dozen names! The day was the anniversary of the liquidation of the shtetl in which the man’s entire family had perished. I think I found it moving because the ordinary keilim we have for mourning are so clearly inadequate for the enormity of the loss of six million.

    On the other hand, Holocaustism has the potential to create a framework that is actually too large even for a tragedy of this magnitude, by implying that the events of 39-45 somehow outweigh all the rest of Jewish History, Torah, etc.

    I agree with the first comment, that, whatever one does privately, if one is in public in Israel for the siren, it is appropriate to stand (silently, or to say Tehillim).

  36. NerBochur says:

    “I merely pointed out the obvious: he could not possible have seen everything, and other historians (indeed other survivors) have other stories to tell, stories that don’t fit so neatly into Mrs. Katz’s version of the world.”
    DB

    DB,
    My grandfather (my grandmother too) , who survived the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, despite his strong disagreement with Mrs. Katz, told me that he must concede that he can as well bear witness to Victor Frankel’s testimony regarding the assimilated and educated elite.

    “Were all the other Jews cowards and weaklings? Were the young men and women of the Warsaw Ghetto the only Jewish heroes?”

    This is not about suggesting that only the people who partook in the Warsaw Uprising were the heroes. I don’t understand how you make so many assumptions as to what those who chose the timing intended. It’s about learning from our tragic past. The Jewish people will never allow themselves to be taken to the slaughter like sheep. This must be taught again and again as long as we live, and the timing of Yom Hashoa is one of the ways chosen to do so.

    “BTW, do you know how many armed Japanese soldiers it took to guard 200 unarmed American POWs? It took one. Just one! To guard 200 trained soldiers!”

    Not comparable! The fate of the men woman and children being marched to there deaths was die here or die there. The Nazis killed you whether you resisted or not. In my grandfather’s words: “most of marched to our death knowing our fate yet decided to do nothing. Like sheep to the slaughter.” (Hungarian Jews knew exactly what they were in for and had not planned one form of resistance planed.)

    “In America, the Holocaust has become a substitute religion, an alternate source of Jewish identity to replace the original Torah. Instead of learning Torah, we have Holocaust Studies. Instead of identifying Jews as “those who keep the mitzvos” (or even “those born of a Jewish mother”) we identify Jews as “those who are killed and persecuted.”

    If many secular Jews connect their identity with the Holocaust it is a good thing. To suggest that if not for the holocaust they would surely become shomrie torah umitsvos for “lack of other forms to identify themselves as Jews” is inaccurate. A secular Jew with his “substitute religion” is more likely to one day become a fully observant Jew or have a descendent become one. So if people find their Jewish identity with the holocaust let it be another reason to be optimistic.

  37. a pashut yid says:

    Seems like this topic is a hot one.
    I am a bit confused, and would appreciate if someone could explain what the big issue is here.
    Is Yom Hashoah a ceremony devoid of Jewish religious practices? Is there a Halachic requirement for a day of mourning for the Holocaust? If it is a religious practice, which Gedolei Yisroel, Poskim or Rabbonim back it’s rememberance in the way it is currently observed? The Chazon Ish came out against it in a letter. Who is the poseik on the differing side?
    If it is not a religious practice, what, in fact, is it?

    And another thing that really bothers me. Why is it that we respect these “Charedi Rabbis” when it comes to piskei halacha in which we have no ulterior motives, but when we dont understand a psak (such as this), we will mock them and the system saying that its not halachic, its just politics, and the secualr leaders established it, so thats the reason the chareidim dont want to jump aboard? How insulting to the Chazon Ish! How insulting to Rav Elyashiv! How insulting to the Kalliver Rebbe who went thru the Holocaust and asked Rav Elyashiv this very shaila! Is there no limit to our arrogance and disrespect for talmidei chachamim?

    One final note:
    For those who are upset at those who walk during the siren in Israel:
    Does it matter where these walkers and siren-ignorers are? What if its a Chareidi neighborhood where the majority of the people there are not interested in being told to stop what they are doing for a “moment of silence”

  38. Yaakov Menken says:

    At risk of repeating myself, the problem is not simply a matter of having “a” day, but this day, to commemorate the Holocaust. Hanan, your claim that a day would never be accepted by charedim is contradicted by the fact that many Orthodox Rabbis suggested one, as mentioned earlier. It was nonetheless the conclusion of the Rabbis of the time that the best way to ensure an enduring commemoration of the Holocaust was to include new Kinos on Tisha B’Av.

    We are not uncovering secrets, but acknowledging the obvious. This is how the date of Yom HaShoah veHaGevurah was set. Reconstructionist Rabbi Michael Strassfeld, hardly known to be a right-wing fanatic, puts it this way — with a tip from the Ma Rabu blog (which has much more about this):

    Its connection with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising seems to me to make us agree with those who would desecrate the memory of all the 6 million by emphasizing only those who engaged in armed resistance against the Nazis. It reflects a defensiveness about–and thus an acknowledgement of some truth in–the statements made by those who accuse the Jews of being led to slaughter as sheep. To emphasize the Warsaw Ghetto revolt is to accept those critics’ field of discourse by trying to prove that some Jews did fight back. The Warsaw Ghetto should be remembered, but I am not willing to imply that its defenders were more heroic than any other of the 6 million, or, what is even worse, to imply even a subliminal embarrassment for those Jews who did not fight back.

    Moshe Feldman says that “there is no doubt that those who commemorate Yom Hasho’a are much more aware of the events of the Holocaust.” This is what is known as a truism: those who study the Holocaust are more aware of the Holocaust. But it is also irrelevant to the point against which he claimed to argue — namely, that attendance at Yom HaShoah commemorations is dropping even faster than attendance at Tisha B’Av Kinos is rising.

    The Baltimore Jewish Times (second) Editorial reads:

    The wheel of Jewish life works quite well, but the spokes might need some replacement and new luster… We’re referring to Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), Yom HaZikaron (Israel’s Memorial Day), and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day). At the various organized community events, the general age of audience members is 50 or above… where are the teens? Where are the college students? Where are the young adults?

    Yom HaShoah planners must find new ways to have a young person share with someone his or her senior. They are the ones we all know must carry on our traditions in the not-too-distant future. We need our younger community members…

    Or this, from the Publisher’s Note:

    I worry that terms like Nazi and Holocaust are losing their meaning.

    We have enough challenges with the Holocaust as it is. Younger people aren’t as attached to it because it’s far removed from them. Survivors are dying off. The question: How can our culture and our religion make this part of our permanent memory without the Holocaust losing its powerful meaning over time?

    Only the most wilfully blind would claim that their observations are inaccurate or unique to Baltimore. What I said before is obviously true. It is equally obvious that the average yeshiva-educated Jew knows far more about the Holocaust than the average graduate of Hebrew schools across America; I suspect that the average yeshiva bachur has read far more than one book about it. You can attempt to compare the yeshiva-educated with Professors of Holocaust Studies if you wish to pronounce yeshiva education about the Holocaust “deficient,” but a more honest standard reveals that it is the day schools, yeshivos and seminaries that are doing the best job educating the next generation about the Holocaust — and every other aspect of Judaism.

    Dilbert refers to a “failure of concept of da’as Torah.” This is only apparent to one operating under the misconceptions that (a) Da’as Torah is somehow equivalent to nevu’ah, prophecy, and (b) The Rabbis were concerned only with physical safety. Both are wrong, and the speculation that the Shoah might be a “problem” for the “right wing” is incredibly offensive. The reality is that the majority of the martyrs in the Holocaust were observant, Orthodox Jews, and every major yeshiva and Chassidic group of the day was displaced or destroyed. There is no group that suffered more than the “right wing.”

    Michael Feldstein writes: “my strong guess is that an equal percentage of Orthodox Jews and secular Jews rejected their belief in God after the Holocaust.” While he says that he doesn’t have statistics at hand to support this, I’m sure that there are no such statistics at all. It should be obvious that those with a stronger faith and stronger understanding of G-d’s Ways in the world would be more likely to maintain their belief through a disaster like this.

    And there is a final point, perhaps the most important of all. Ner Bachur asserts that if “secular [or any] Jews connect their identity with the Holocaust it is a good thing.” I disagree; I think it is a terrible thing. “We’re Jews. We get butchered merely because we are Jews. Aren’t we proud to be Jews?” No, of course they aren’t proud, at all. They have nothing of which to be proud — only ancestors who believed in antiquated religious practices, and were then led like lambs to the slaughter. It is an unmitigated disaster in modern Jewish life that the Holocaust has become arguably the most readily-identifiable symbol of Jewish identity.

    Go look at the surveys of Israeli (secular) high school students and see how many are proud to be Jewish. Go look at the accelerating assimilation rate of secular American Jewish families, who are fading into the American melting pot in order not to be recognized by the next Nazis. The use of the Holocaust to define Jewish identity is an ongoing tragedy, causing a Holocaust of its own. How is it a good thing?

  39. Edvallace says:

    In the Kiruv world it is no secret that the less affiliated the Jew, the more likely he/she is to become religious. It is precisely those who went to Hebrew school and hated every minute of it [I have so far encountered a total of ONE person who didn’t despise it], those who are active in Israel Advocacy, and those active in Holocaust Commemorations, who are least likely to assume Torah and Mitzvos. After all, aren’t they already very active Jews? Don’t they do what all good Jews do?

    Bottom line is that the substitute Judaism’s don’t help – they only perpetuate the disaster by convincing their innocent victims that they need not pursue the real thing.

  40. Adam Steiner says:

    1) Yaakov Menken wrote (reply 38)
    “Go look at the surveys of Israeli (secular) high school students and see how many are proud to be Jewish. Go look at the accelerating assimilation rate of secular American Jewish families, who are fading into the American melting pot in order not to be recognized by the next Nazis. The use of the Holocaust to define Jewish identity is an ongoing tragedy, causing a Holocaust of its own. How is it a good thing?”

    Isn’t this exactly what you accuse Michael Feldstein of doing? I won’t accuse you of not having statistics, but if you are going to tell everyone to look at them at least provide some to back yourself up. Furthermore, we may recognize a distinction between Jewish and Israeli that others may not. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t proud to be Jewish. Just that they may not have the same differentiation as you, or I, do. Assuming such a differentiation should (ideally) exist.
    Additionally, those American Jewish secular families who are fading into the American melting pot have, in some cases, only the Holocaust as a definition of Jewish identity. Is that sad? As you point out, yes, it is. Is it an ongoing tragedy? Yes, it is. But the point is that absent a day to commemorate the Holocaust they would have *nothing*. Would that be worse? Yes. Would that be a greater tragedy? Yes. Isn’t it better to keep them in the fold, albeit to a small extent? Would you close the Shul to the “Yom Kippur Jew” because that is the only day he goes to shul? Or the Jew that shows up only for Yizkor? They’ll be gone when the next generation takes its place. But for now there is still hope.
    That these people don’t have any other connection is indicative of the failure of outreach of our communities. Yes, yours, mine, everyone reading this. It is our responsibility to reach out to them. They are hanging by a lifeline, grasping at what they see as important. When they saw the tatoos on the arms of their parents and heard the horror stories some of them resolved that they would observe this day. Out of respect? Out of honor? Who knows. But this is their connection, their lifeline. Cutting them off or saying that its better that they have nothing is a nice way of shifting the blame from where it really belongs.

    According to your logic, it would be better for these secular jews to be totally divorced from Judaism now. I would prefer to push it off as far as possible and see what we can do to keep them in the fold.

    2) In response to Dilbert, Yaakov Menken wrote:
    “This is only apparent to one operating under the misconceptions that (a) Da’as Torah is somehow equivalent to nevu’ah, prophecy, and (b) The Rabbis were concerned only with physical safety. Both are wrong, and the speculation that the Shoah might be a “problem” for the “right wing” is incredibly offensive. The reality is that the majority of the martyrs in the Holocaust were observant, Orthodox Jews, and every major yeshiva and Chassidic group of the day was displaced or destroyed. There is no group that suffered more than the “right wing.”

    Which then raises the question of why it should be listened to, or so strictly adhered to, if it is not nevuah. Why we at times appear to give more deference to “da’as torah” than we would to nevi’im. We won’t question da’as torah, to do so is heretical, but a navi we can ask for proof. But this is an issue for a later discussion 😉

    3) At the risk of repeating what Hanan proposed, the idea is that there be a two-fold Holocaust Memorial Day/Rememberance Day. For those who went through it, for those who know those and have seen those who went through it, we have Yom HaShoah. As time passes it gets subsumed into Tisha B’av and all of our other tragedies.

    So Yaakov, what would be the problem with that? Granted, originally it wasn’t perfect. But then again, the Chashmona’im were Kings, we had many Kings that did bad as well, leaders which went astray, false nevi’im and false messiahs.. Is there anyone here reading this now, who would say that because Jews can go back to Israel now because of secularists, because of those like Herzl, that we, the religious, should not? Ridiculous. How many of us are involved in actions of the secular Israeli government, taking government funded buses, relying on a secular Army? That we stay away from things which began, and continue to be, imperfect, is ridiculous.

    It is our job to fix it, to take what was imperfect and perfect it. Few, if any today, look at Yom HaShoah as a day chosen because the other days were filled with weakness of lambs to the slaughter. I don’t, and I’m 24. In fact, Yom HaShoah might have been chosen as the perfect day. When thousands of people are being slaughtered day in and day out, you take the day that has something different to use to commemorate it. To use as a rallying point. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising struck a chord. Why? I don’t know. Nor doesit matter. It just did. And that’s the day you choose. If you wanted to choose the day Auschwitz was liberated, that would work too. The idea is that the dya chosen has something different, something to rally people behind.

    4) I also have no seen an answer to Dilbert’s point (I believe it was his) that we have other days of mourning, specifically Sefirah. Why should we commemorate the deaths of 24,000 talmidim of R. Akiva (other girsa: soldiers) so long ago for a period of 33 days and not set aside a single day mourning the 6,000,000 killed sixty years ago?

    –Adam

    PS: All in all I’m enjoying this discussion tremendously. Keep up the good work all.

  41. Max says:

    I have seen a number of indignant inquiries as to why some do not choose to recognize YomHaShoa. I am yet to see one good explanation of why is YomHaShoa the most appropriate day in the calendar to reflect on the tragedy of the Holocaust? TishBeAv makes sense as it marks beginning of our exile which made us defenseless at the hands of our enemies and is the cause for all of our national calamities including Holocaust. It also makes sense as it marks beginning of World War I, which started the chain of events which included communist revolutions across Europe, Versailles treaty and eventually lead to Holocaust. I could see if someone chose to reflect on the Holocaust on the anniversary of Kristalnacht, or on 17th of Elul, beginning of World War II, but what is a significance of 26th of Nissan, to make it the day of reflection on Holocaust, I would like to see someone address that?

    A related, but totally different point what have we learned from Holocaust, or even from an experience of the revolt in Warsaw Ghetto and absence of any meaningful gentile assistance at that time? Have we not just witnessed an 8 year long process when Israel’s government placed the security of its citizens at a whim of its Palestinian peace partners, and then for two years showed total impotency in light of a wave of slaughter that marked the end of that pinnacle of Israeli diplomacy? Can we forget Barak, brave, intelligent leader, making phone calls after especially bloody terrorist attacks and warning Palestinians that he will be forced to fire a missile, please vacate the target area? And should we consider, would the response of the Sharon government, be as effective, had he and Israel not enjoyed wall to wall support of Christian fundamentalists in U.S. How great is Hashem’s chessed, to witness in our lifetime, Eisav going over and kissing Yaakov. Never Again? It is in our hands to insure: “Never Again”? Just ask Israel’s generals and diplomats” What do we do when there is no peace partner and there is no military solution and the international community is impatiently knocking on our door to bring objective peace force into our backyard?

  42. martin brody says:

    Max, and others

    Yom Hashoa on this date (or around this time) is, as I stated previously, relevent to the lead up to Yom Haatzmaaut. If one has no interest in Yom Haatzmaut (beats me why one wouldn’t) then Yom Hashoa is even more meaningless, which is really the gist of the divide.

    As I also stated before, Yom Hashoa exists, and to not participate in the events of the day( (or week)in even the tiniest way, by standing still for 2 minutes when the siren sounds for example, or to continue proclaiming the mostly invalid reasons against it, etc. does nothing to promote unity with those( including many Orthodox) who do respect it’s validity, and only perpetuates in the mind of the not yet religious, how far apart they are. Rabbi Menken has wishful thinking in regard to how much Yeshiva students know about it. There’s so much more to say. I’m saddened by this thread.

  43. Edvallace says:

    Martin Brody,

    Since you seem to “saddened” by this thread allow me to cheer you up a bit with some perspective from the other side.

    you write: “If one has no interest in Yom Haatzmaut (beats me why one wouldn’t)”

    Here’s a reason for you to think about. What does Yom Haatzmaut signify exactly? Independence from whom? The Arabs? The US? The Germans? Has Israel really materialized into the “safe haven” it was promised to be by the secular Zionists?

    Is that why the IDF is now in the process of removing Jews from their homes? Or do we need a new Israel where Jews can live safely without fear of the IDF?

    Perhaps this is freedom from the poisonous Western culture. Is that why we’re fighting a battle to prevent Gays from parading their abominable behaviour in the holy streets of Yerushalaim? Or are we celebrating the freedom to establish a Supreme Court that flagrantly rules against every religious issue beought before it?

    No thanks!

    “As I also stated before, Yom Hashoa exists, and to not participate in the events of the day( (or week)in even the tiniest way, by standing still for 2 minutes when the siren sounds for example, or to continue proclaiming the mostly invalid reasons against it, etc. does nothing to promote unity with those( including many Orthodox) who do respect it’s validity, and only perpetuates in the mind of the not yet religious, how far apart they are.”

    So does the fact that the Conservative and Reform branches in Israel advocate for the Gay Parade in Yerushalaim along with a select number of “Orthodox Gays” also mean that if successful, since it “exists” we must be respectful and stand in silence while they parade?

    Respect goes both ways my friend. When it’s only one way, it’s called subservience, not repect. When the discos close on Tisha B’Av and the businesses on Shabbos, we will consider standing still on Yom Hashoah. That’s called respect. When everything sacred is trampled on again and again, to follow their alien practices is not respect, it’s ridiculous.

    “Rabbi Menken has wishful thinking in regard to how much Yeshiva students know about it.”

    Really?! Growing up, the only Jewish books available were on the Holocaust. Artscroll and Feldheim publish over 100 books on the Holocaust, and who do you think is buying and reading them? The fact is that most secular Jews have a very basic smattering of the significance of the Holocaust, and unfortunately only see it as another reason to get as far away from tradiditonal judaism as possible.

    That, my friend, is what ought to sadden you. Not the fact that some observant Jews don’t bother to pretend that they agree with a meaningless designation.

    And don’t bother with the insensitivity business. Most of my father’s close family were killed in the Holocaust and I care about it as much the next person.

  44. Adam Steiner says:

    Martin,

    Two issues:
    1)When you choose a day you choose a day that is unique, that has something special. Kristalnacht, V-E day, liberation of Auschwitz, any of those days would be fine if you wish to commemorate the Holocaust. They chose this day. What’s wrong with that? Something tells me that if it was Kristalnacht or any day besides Tisha B’av you would be just as against it.
    I like the approach mentioned of a two tier rememberance. Perhaps, as time goes on, Yom HaShoah will shift to Tisha B’av. It may be a natural occurence. That doesn’t mean that its a problem to have it on a different day now. We commemorate all kinds of bad things on days other than Tisha B’av, don’t we?

    2) Even if Yom HaShoah is on the wrong day (if that’s possible) and was instituted for the wrong reasons does that change 60 years later? Do the original reasons this date was chosen even matter? There are various minhagim whose reasons are no longer valid yet we still keep them. After a certain time the day takes on a life of its own, as it were.

    3) Would someone please answer the whole ‘not mourning in Nissan’ thing when we have Sefirah and hosts of funerals where they say “I know we shouldnt give hespedim but….”

    –Adam

  45. Joe Schick says:

    It’s one thing to object to Zionism, but Edvallace’s screed is inappropriate. If the State of Israel is so awful toward the religious, why has a charedi (and dati leumi) population grown substantially since its establishment? Why do charedi yeshivas and kollel families take taxpayer money for their institutions? Even with the massive budget cuts over the last few years, is there any state in the world that supports Torah to the extent Israel does?

    From Edvallace’s post, one would think Israel was an ultra-secular state that tramples on religious rights, not a country whose capital city is led by a charedi mayor.

  46. Jewish Exile says:

    Edvallace,

    Independence is Ke’Pshuto. We are no longer under foreign rule. There is a state run by Jews. It is at least as good a situation as we had under ach’av, Herod, Yanai, or any of the other dozens of governments taht were downright hostile to torah (yanai killed the chachamim!) and we still appreciated and celebrated them. In fact, according to the Rambam, it seems that the celebration of Chanukah is in no small part because sovereignty returned to the Jews for 200 years. And remember, that sovereignty was the Hasmonean kings who were not only anti-torah most of the time, but also were inherently illegitemate as kings since they were also kohanim.

  47. mb says:

    Adam,
    Are you sure you have a dispute with my posts? we seem to be in agreement. As I said previously, the objections about Nissan are weak( sefira,yizkor, hespedim etc).The date for Yom Hashoa was picked because it was close to the end of the Shoa, May 8 1945,( not sure of the Hebrew date, perhaps somebody could look it up)and had to precede Yom Haatzmaaut. ( The rememberance of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, was an afterthought and added a few years later)I somewhat whimsically call this period the Zionists 3 weeks. I proudly join them in it`s observance.

  48. DovBear says:

    Respect goes both ways my friend. When it’s only one way, it’s called subservience, not repect. When the discos close on Tisha B’Av and the businesses on Shabbos, we will consider standing still on Yom Hashoah

    Edvallace, you’re looking at the trees, and you’re so offended by what you see, you’ve forgotten about the forest.

    If the American civil rights struggle taught us one thing it was this: you don’t make someone love you by replying to their hatred with more hate. That, incidently, is an old jewish message, a message that goes back to Hillel and Akiva.

    Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
    What is despicable to you, do not do unto others.

    Ed, you’re so angry, you’ve forgotten your own anger is only making things worse.

  49. Shragie says:

    In a nutshell you claim that Yom Hashoah can’t be distinguished as a day of remembrance because it was a Zionist proposal. You also lay claim that it was the shame of the Holocaust victim that the Zionist is trying to avoid. I don’t know how factual this all is. I also don’t know if this is sufficient of a reason not to be able to use Yom Hashoah as a remembrance. With all due respect it sounds political.
    Furthermore, the holocaust is a terribly sensitive issue for the survivors, children, grandchildren and anyone who considers himself a member the children if Israel. It is also true that it has not been addressed on a large scale by the charedi school of thought. Although Tisha Bav is the most proper time to remember the Holocaust as you point out, it is rarely addressed even on Tisha Bav. If someone wants to read up on it he is welcome to do so but there is no structured source for it in the charedi world. The only avenue is the not charedi avenues. Your suggestion would only have children looking at questionable sources for answers.
    You say that you are an educator, presumably to disseminate the Torah and its truths. I am not an educator in any capacity, other than being the father of my kids. Any question that deals with large issues such as the Shoah requires at the very least, the input of Gadol. In your lengthy article you neglect to mention any Gadol’s opinion, just yours. As an educator of any capacity the truth must be the goal for the children to attain. Difficult issues require guidance not rhetoric.

  50. Gershon says:

    These are not new arguments against Yom Hashoah observations.

    They worked for our generation that knew about the Shoah second hand; many/most of our contemporaries were children of survivors and knew even as they didn’t really know. (See, BTW, Yaakov Salomon’s excellent article on the aish website on this topic).

    Many don’t say Yizkor in the first year of aveilus, to coin an analogy, so the day and its observance were secondary to the knowledge that was inescapable in that generation.

    However, how do you address the fact that in our mainstream (read: right wing, whether Chassidish or Litvish) yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs, the forgetting that Michael accused his Chattanoogans of has already taken place WRT to the events of only 60 years ago?

    The topic, not only the day, are ignored completely and the only ones who know anything about it are those whose knowledge sources are outside the yeshivos/BYs.

    (I’m referring, of course, to NY yeshivas; clearly “out of town” (west of the Hudson/south of the Verrazano) YMMV.)

    Gershon

  51. Adam Steiner says:

    Martin,

    I was reading your posts from a different perspective. My bad. I still think the argument can be made not to look at why it was created, but rather what is stands for now (which would obviate the Yom Haatzmaut issue).
    Thanks for clearing it up, I’ll try to read it better next time

    On a lighter note: Gershon’s last line (comment 50) of “I’m referring of course….”out of town” (west of the Hudson/south of the Verrazano) reminds me of something a classmate said to me a few months back. In discussing what was “out of town” (NYC being the town) he said “anything north of the George Washington Bridge.” Having gone to YU for college, I was quite amused to learn that I went to school “out of town”

    Good Shabbos,
    -Adam

  52. Shira Schmidt says:

    1) Something to think about — Rabbi Hutner, z”l, suggested we use the term Churban rather than Holocaust. This connects us with our history. Many Chareidi publications now use this term, rather than the relatively new English coinage “Holocaust.”
    2) With respect to remembering the European Churban on Tisha B’Av, rather than on the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, I agree that it is better to have memorials on our traditional fast days. In fact, it is slowly happening. Everywhere I have been the past few summers has had some Churban remembrance on Tisha B’Av. In Camp MaNaVu the camp director recounts his family’s survival during the Churban, and there is usually a dramatization of something related to the War during the 9 days preceding Tisha B’Av. And in Chassidic Kiryat Sanz when the women gathered to read Eicha (Lamentations) in Yiddish, they asked me to bring kinos written on the Churban (by Rav Schwab, by the Bobover Rebbe, and others). I should add, though, the Sanzer-Klausemberger Rebbe himself (whose wife and 11 children were murdered by the Nazis) was not in favor of such kinos because our generation is not at the level to write them, and it is too soon after the terrible events.
    Other examples – in the Moshava Camps(Bnei Akiva) they also have readings from memoirs written during or after the Churban. So slowly the memorials are moving to our traditional day of national mourning. In addition, the 10th of Teves, a winter fast day, is observed by many religious people in Eretz ISrael as Yom Hakaddish Haklali – a day for Kaddish for those who perished in the Churban.
    7 b Iyyar

  53. David Eisen says:

    R. Yaakov Menken wrote:
    “…100 years from now, Kinos will still be said for the martyred of the Holocaust every Tisha B’Av, just as they are today.”

    Is this truly the way for a religious Jew to speak or write?! It is our belief that our ultimate redemption will speedily transpire in our days, b’ezrat Hashem Yitbarach. I recall listening to a radio program in Israel entitled “Ha-Yerushalmim” where veteran residents of Jerusalem reminisced their childhoods in pre-1948 Eretz Yisrael. One of the participants who grew up in Meah Shearim commented that he entered into a sefarim shop in Yerushalayim during the week of Tisha B’Av (during the mid 1990’s) and to his horror and utter dismay, he saw that the vendor was selling a beautiful leather-bound kinot with gold-plated pages; he noted that when he was a child, at the end of every Tisha B’Av, the entire congregation would place their kinot pamphlets in the Geniza while praying may this be the very last Tisha B’Av that the Jewish people will need to have recited kinot. At which point, this commenter burst into tears pining: “Hem mantzihim et a Galut (They are perpetuating the diaspora!)!”

    May Hashem have compassion on His people and with His help may we no longer recite the Kinot not for 100 more years and not even one more year, amen ken yehi ratzon!

    B’virkat HaTorah v’HaMitzva,
    David Eisen, Adv.
    Bet Shemesh

  54. Yaakov Menken says:

    I stand corrected. Rabbi Eisen is absolutely correct that we are told Tisha B’Av will be changed from a day of aveilus to one of rina v’simcha. We will still remember the Holocaust and all the other tragedies for which we now say Kinos, but amen, ken yehi ratzon indeed.

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