Dear WIN Community:
Rabbi Larry Moldo, Chair of the WIN Board of Directors, recently said:
“I look forward to extending the connections between the various faiths throughout Wyoming...to mobilize help when needed, enhance understanding at all times, and aid in helping religious minorities feel even more enfranchised.”
Holocaust Remembrance Day, also known by its Hebrew name Yom HaShoa, started at sundown on Wednesday, April 11, and ended on the evening of Thursday, April 12, 2018. Click here to learn more about Yom Hashoa. This year, on Yom HaShoah, national news informed us that a survey of 1,350 Americans shows our knowledge of the world's worst genocide is being forgotten. Read a USA Today story about the survey results here.
Nevertheless, a ray of hope was highlighted at Smithsonian.com:
"Americans believe that Holocaust education is important...80 percent said it is important to continue Holocaust education so a similar atrocity does not occur in the future" (Katz, 2018).
WIN provides opportunities to continue such education. We do this in humility as we learn about one another's faiths and vastly important related historical and current events.
Storytelling is an effective tool for connecting, teaching and learning. Indeed, as Daniella Greenbaum (Business Insider, April 12, 2018) wrote:
"My grandmother dedicated her life to educating people about the Holocaust...But her generation is dying, and as it does, the torch of storytelling passes to the next"(Greenbaum, 2018).
WIN carries this torch. We are integrating storytelling into our work in two ways, in alignment with Rabbi Moldo's vision:
Soon, WIN Weekly Messages will also be written by members of the WIN community.
I'll facilitate a Photovoice Storytelling project among WIN's Board of Directors at our Board Retreat in August. Through a creative group process, we'll develop photographs with narratives that tell a story of our individual faiths and faith traditions, which will, in turn, tell a collective interfaith story. WIN's Board Photovoice story will be shared at community events, on our website and our Facebook page in the fall of 2018.
In closing, I want to share a poem I discovered at Alden Solovy's website, To Bend Light ,while hoping to increase my knowledge about Yom HaShoa. Solovy (2011) wrote this prayer, which can be used as part of a "liturgy for Yom HaShoah, for reclaiming life in the shadow of death... it can also be used as a meditation after any event in which many die and others live." I found it to be deeply meaningful, and I hope it touches you today, as well:
After the Horror
Hold fast to the breath of life.
Hold fast to the song of life.
Hold fast to the soul of life.
This is my sacred duty, G-d* of old,
As survivor, as witness, as a voice of history and truth.
Why else did I live when so many died?
Why else do I stand when so many were put to rest?
Why else do I hope and yearn when so many were silenced?
Hold fast to awe and wonder.
Hold fast to radiance and light.
Hold fast to mystery and majesty.
This is my sacred duty, G-d of old,
As mourner, as testimony to horror and destruction.
What else remains? What else endures?
What more can You ask of me,
But to choose life in the shadow of death?
(c) 2011 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
* If you are like me, you may have asked, why is God written as
G-d in this poem? To learn more about this from the Jewish community, go here.
With Gratitude and Peace,
Susie Markus, Ph.D.