Monday, April 24, 2006

Yom Ha Shoah-ish

An email from a family member who lives in Israel shares her thoughts on what it's like to experience Yom Ha Shoah in the Holy Land:

Yom Hashoa started here tonight. Unfortunately, we Jews do memorials well.

For all of our occasional ill-mannered ways, we have the most noble ways of
honoring our horrors. We had taken the whole family to the mall where our
dentist's office happens to be. We planned to eat dinner there afterwards.
When we entered the office, on the top floor of the mall, the mall was
packed. We didn't realize we'd be there so long but we left at 7:15, starved
, figuring we'd eat at the yucky food court, a big treat for the kids. When
we emerged from the office, the mall was deserted. Not a store or a
restaurant were open. As we drove out of the mall, we saw that all stores on
the streets were closed and the streets were dark. On the radio, only somber
music or holocaust related programs played on all of the stations. TV is the
same story. Even the movies on El Al, apparantly, are not their usual fare
and are related to the holocaust. No music is played. By 8PM the ceremony at
Yad Vashem had begun and was on all of the TV and radio stations. That every
business, without exception, closes, that the national media is sombre, that
all outward life is muted, is very powerful. The public respect for the
meaning behind the day is very profound.
Tomorrow at 10 AM the siren that sounds uncannily like a cry will sound and
all life will stand still for a moment. I never cease to be amazed by the
power of that collective moment. On Yom Hashoa I always feel particularly
proud of this tiny country. Just standing on this Jewish earth on this
particular day is comforting.

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