“When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.”
A siren rang out in Israel today to honor the memory of those lost in the Holocaust. All over the world, communities are paying respect and keeping the memory alive of those who perished. Today is Yom Hashoah.
Today is a day of remembrance for the Jewish people. A day to mark the Holocaust, one of the most devastating tragedies to befall the people. But today is also a day to be hopeful.
March of the Living is a journey that Jewish youth from all over the world take. From their hometowns they arrive to Poland and see the death camps where millions of our people were massacred. They see the gas chambers, the ovens, the details of a truth and a story that beg to be told, to never be forgotten.
Among all of this pain, however, there is hope. As the painful story of our past is handed down to these generations, so too is the hope for a stronger Jewish people. The youth who see the death camps are part of a strong and hopeful nation.
After touring the death camps, March of the Living takes its participants to Israel. Hope arrives out of desperation. Life arrives out of death. Gabriel’s parents met on a March of the Living trip. His father was a photographer on the trip and his mother, a participant. Their grandparents experienced the horrors of the holocaust but today are able to see a family born out of tragedy, two people that would not have met if not for their experience. Today, they have a thriving family. Two children carrying on the hope of the Jewish nation. Out of suffering came hope and out of this experience came a family.
The importance of this day, Yom Hashoah, is not only in remembering those who perished, but also remembering the hope of the Jewish people and the gratitude to be felt that we are a stronger people today.
Elie Wiesel wrote “If the only prayer you say throughout your life is “Thank You,” then that will be enough.” So here’s your challenge for the day. Remember those who have perished. Remember the millions who so unjustly lost their lives during World War 2. But don’t forget to remember Gabriel. Remember this generation of Jewish people. Regardless of what your opinion on prayer is, be thankful that today you are a part of a hopeful nation and a people who only get stronger and more unified as time and history attempts to bring us down. This, also, is something you should never forget.