Never Again. Support Each Other. Stay Together. Always Remember.
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We began this week with Yom Hashoah, commemorating all who were lost during the Holocaust and the resilience and strength of Holocaust survivors. Several important messages were expressed during the moving (yes, virtual) ceremony – Never Again. Fight Hate. Support Each Other. Stay Together. Always Remember.
Never Again. Not in Cleveland or in Ohio or anywhere in the United States, Europe, or the world. Following the ceremony, our Young Leadership Division met (yes, also virtually) and discussed how anti-Semitism is opportunistic. With coronavirus and protests about the economy, people are looking for someone to blame. And, once again, Jews are a scapegoat. From protest signs in Columbus this past week depicting a Jew as a rat, to the local Cleveland synagogue’s adult education class that was the victim of a “Zoom-bombing” in which an uninvited individual interrupted the online course to yell “Heil Hitler!” and other horrific things – to name a few of the current examples – our people are a convenient excuse for the hardships facing society.
Michael Pupa, a Holocaust survivor who shared his story at the ceremony and then attended the discussion with the young leaders, said, “This is a country that is torn apart. We have to heal. It is up to you (the young leaders), you have to fix it.” Spending time with our young leaders that night gave me more confidence that never again is an attainable goal. As one of our young leaders noted, we must fight ignorance with education and fight hate wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head to make it clear that hate is not welcome.
Support Each Other. Volunteer from home to make caring calls to those who are most vulnerable in this time of physical separation. Donate funds to the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Coronavirus Emergency Relief Fund to provide food, emergency assistance and other critical support to community members. Reach out to Access Jewish Cleveland or share its information with a friend or family member in need. Email me and share your ideas for how we can better support each other today.
Stay Together. In challenging times, it is all the more important that we come together (virtually) and celebrate all that is worth celebrating. I’m thankful for and want to celebrate the strength and vibrancy of our global community. Please join me and celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) with multiple events on April 28-30. There is a schedule of virtual events here.
Always Remember. Baruch Dayan Emet. May the memory of those whose lives were lost during the Holocaust be for a blessing. May the memory of those who survived, and their resilience, motivate and inspire us today and always.
Stay home, stay healthy, and stay in touch.
Erika B. Rudin-Luria