When Two Worlds Collide:Yom Hazikaron and the Boston Marathon

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It’s always something to talk about when the Jewish world and the secular world intersect.

Today is Yom Hazikaron. On this day, we not only recognize and honor those soldiers who have fallen to defend the state of Israel, we also recognize and honor those who have perished from terrorist attacks in Israel.

Today is the Boston Marathon.  On a day when the entire city comes outside to celebrate with the runners, 2 explosions have occurred at the finish line.

I have received text after text from loved ones in other cities asking about my status. Answering their texts sends chills down my spine. I never thought I would feel so appreciative to have been assigned two exams tomorrow.  My all day study prison has become a haven.  What I thought to be a curse of work has become a blessing.

The tragedy today is a reminder that these check ups should not only come when events such as these occur, but that it is important to remind those that you love that you care about them whenever you have the chance. Luckily, I can reply to these text messages. Many who met tragedy today can not.

While the hundreds of news alerts on my facebook wall of the events at the Boston Marathon may be informative, they are not what  your loved ones need right now.

If you have friends or loved ones in Boston, don’t hesitate to call them.

And while all of the facebook statuses and pictures about Yom Hazikaron may show support, there are more ways to recognize these people.

Pay attention to those you love. Appreciate that you can read this post right now.  Tell your family you are ok. And relax, you have survived another day.

Our prayers go out to those victims and families of those affected by the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon today.  

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Never Forget יזכור

“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.”

―Elie Wiesel

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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.