Tonight marks the beginning of Yom Hashoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day. Here is a piece written by Yael Ribner several years ago for ChallahCrumbs. The message is relevant today.
This year’s central theme – “My Brother’s Keeper – Jewish Solidarity during the Holocaust” – draws attention to the emotional and physical care Jews offered one another during the Holocaust. Individuals brought strangers into their homes, established communal kitchens, education and welfare organizations and much more out of fraternal solidarity towards their fellow Jews in the face of starvation and persecution.
Over the past few weeks leading up to Yom Hashoah I have had the opportunity to look at a number of pictures relating to this particular theme. The picture featured here is one that is particularly stuck in mind.
Everyone has seen at least one picture of starving children in the street of the ghettos and yet in this picture a brother is seen giving food to his little sister. I look at the little girl and wonder who got her dressed? Who put that bow so perfectly in her hair? Was it the boy? Did they even have anyone else to take care of them?
The fate of the boy and his sister are unknown, but it is safe to assume that they were both murdered by the Nazis as no one has come forward to claim this picture.
Today, we live in a world where people are very focused on their personal problems and status. Tonight standing at the ceremony at Yad Vashem reminded me of the importance of breaking out of one’s routine to see the needs and wants of those around that need help. For me, being a part of the Jewish people is accepting responsibility for one another (arevim zeh l’zeh) and this isn’t always easy but is one of the most important and kind acts that we can do to better the world.