Here is a brief look at some of the topics prominent writers and thought leaders are discussing related to Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is marked on April 24.
Elon Idan, Haaretz: “Is It Okay To Watch A Sports Game On Holocaust Remembrance Day?”
“Coercion and bans may compel “the masses” to imbibe what the state wants to feed them, but the passivity in which the citizen is placed regarding his moral choice – in this case being deprived of the option to watch a soccer game – diminishes the value gained from his participation in a national ritual.”
Acceding to the Israeli government’s demands, cable providers in Israel refused to broadcast the “El Clasico” soccer matchup between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona during Yom HaShoah. Idan, while personally in favor of forgoing watching the match out of respect for the day, argues that Israelis should have the choice to skip watching the sporting events or not. Simply not broadcasting it renders the viewer without a choice to make, he declares.
Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, Arutz Sheva:“A Message For Holocaust Remembrance Day”
“This, most likely, was the last request of the six million who were brutally tortured and murdered: that any Jew who remained alive, would do everything possible to marry, have children, and carry on the heritage of our people. To fulfill the verse: ‘But the more they were oppressed, the more they proliferated and spread.’”
Rabbi Eliezer states his case that the greatest measure to remember the Holocaust is to increase the Jewish population. Eliezer points out how the Jewish population has still not recovered from the Holocaust, and he criticizes “the secular-feminist environment” for making it “unpleasant to speak about family planning.” Rather, says Rabbi Eliezer, the positives should be highlighted on raising a family in terms of both health and communal aspects. Family, he proclaims, is more important than freedom.
Rositta Kenigsberg, Sun Sentinel:“Holocaust Remembrance Reaches Beyond Just One Day”
“Our survivors beseech us to not allow the Holocaust to be diluted, distorted, or denied. Not diminish its meaning by treating every terrible suffering and every instance of persecution and discrimination as a mini-Holocast. In the face of today’s climate do not be silent: stand up and speak out when the history of the Holocaust is being misrepresented by the misguided and ill-intentioned.”
Kenigsberg, president of the Holocaust Documentation & Education Center (HDEC), implores her readers to not simply remember what happened one day in the year, but to remain vigilant against growing Anti-Semitism in the world. The rising tide of Holocaust denial and support is not to be ignored, she says, and she mentions the work she and the HDEC are doing to keep the memory alive on a daily basis.
Rabbi Avi Weiss, New York Daily News:“Presidents Damagingly Politicized The Holocaust Long Before Sean Spicer”
“I offer this critique not as a Democrat or Republican but as one who has dedicated a good portion of my life to Shoah memory. My concern is that the memory remain pure, clear and holy without distortions, perversions or agendas.”
In his concise op-ed, Rabbi Weiss, the national president of the Coalition for Jewish Concerns, applauds President Trump’s efforts to counteract White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s insensitive comments that omitted the Nazi’s use of chemical weapons against Jews during the Holocaust. However, he goes on to list all the times in which U.S. presidents — including Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama — misused Holocaust Remembrance in an insensitive light or for political purposes.
Amy Israel Pregulman, The Commercial Appeal:“Commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day”
“Many lost their life’s savings in the Holocaust and were never reimbursed. Others have no family support. Too many don’t have the means to overcome major medical bills or other unforeseen expenses.”
Pregulman encourages readers to not forget the Holocaust survivors who continue to live among us. She reveals that more than one in four Holocaust survivors live in the U.S. at or below the poverty level. Kavod, the Memphis nonprofit organization which Pregulman is the executive director and co-founder of, works with local agencies to provide emergency aid to help survivors meet their basic needs.
Steven Davidson is an editorial fellow at The Forward.