Remember, remember the 17th day of Shevat. This day, which is January 27 on western calendar is one of days of yom hashoah or "days of remembrance." It isn't a holiday, but it is a holy day and commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day, said International Business Times on Jan. 27. Jews observe Yom Hashoah, Jewish Holocaust Memorial Day, on the 27th of Nissan (April to May in the Western calendar). January 27 is the day the world remembers (or should) when it stood by while millions died--Pole, Slav, Catholic, Russian, red, disabled, dissident, gypsy, gay, and many, many Jewish--in the World War II Nazi genocide. The theme for International Holocaust Memorial Day 2016 is "Don't Stand By" and it comes from a confession of Pastor Martin Niemoller.
"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me."
"Don't Stand By" if you see injustice, persecution, bullying or marginalization. Speak out, whether you identify with those you are speaking out for or not. Don't stand by because an injury to one is an injury to all, says the union slogan. On Jewish Holocaust Memorial Day and all year long, fight against acts of anti-semitism, anti-life, anti-humanity. Don't stand by and let a great injury be repeated. Talk about it and educate yourself. Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has a free activity pack for educators and individuals, to remember.
Don't stand by--share the love. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum offers ways to share stories online and in person. Oral tradition is a time-honored way of preserving memories. Don't stand by and let the flame die. On Yom Hashoah, let the the voices of the dead speak. Most everything that remained of those horrible days are gone. Many holocaust survivors have passed on. But memory is enduring voice, if it's not shushed. Let Holocaust Remembrance Day be a song that keeps on playing your head, long after the music has died. Look at the Holocaust Remembrance Day poster from 2012. It shows, in shadow, the loved ones lost. It's evocative and eerie. It makes you wonder who these shadows were. Don't stand by and let them be forgotten.
Don't stand by--watch movies and read books for Jewish Holocaust Memorial Day. "Sarah's Key" is a translation of "Elle S'appellait Sarah" by Tatiana de Rosenay. It tells of a little girl taken in the Jewish Vel' D'hiv roundup in France and the journalist who uncovers her story. Read or watch "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas"--that will put a face on Holocaust for you. Or how about "The Book Thief?" Children can watch this one and empathize. Don't stand by--teach your children that untold numbers of other children perished in the Nazi holocaust and stories like this are their voice. For a non-fiction Yom Hashoah read, try "Night" by Elie Weisel. But be prepared to be haunted for the rest of your life. Read Viktor Frankel's "Man's Search for Meaning"for a Holocaust Remembrance Day you'll never forget.
You can't bring back the deceased, but you can give them their voice. You can ask, "who are you? what were you like?" Because if no one talks about them, they are truly buried. When we speak for them, it's like they never died. Don't stand by this Jewish Yom HaShoah.