My friends think I’m obsessed with the Holocaust. My husband claims that I can’t have breakfast without talking about it. They are all exaggerating of course, but the truth is not far away: the Holocaust is a crucial part of my identity as a person and as a Jew. I am the grandchild of four survivors. My father was born in the summer of 1942 in a tiny town in the northwest corner of the Ukraine. You can imagine it didn’t go well from there.
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.
Some several years ago when I was born, a few years before the middle of the last century in fact, they gave me a name; and in those early years, I assumed that the name they gave me was the name by which I would always be known. My parents called me by that name — and my teachers and my friends and my parents’ friends and the men in shul on Shabbat. I had a name and that was who I was.
Naming children seems to be an art that is balanced on a shaky tightrope strung between tradition and prevailing practice.