Tomorrow is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, when Jews around the world will pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust's 6 million Jewish victims. But, Rabbi Eckstein writes at The Miami Herald, we must remember the many victims who are still living - many of them living lives of poverty - and it is our responsibility to help them live their final days in dignity:
On Yom HaShoah, air-raid sirens across Israel herald a moment of silence. Even highway traffic stops. Worldwide, synagogues and communal institutions memorialize the victims. The Jewish people unite to say: Never again.
While it’s critical for the Jewish people — for all people — to remember the Holocaust and learn its lessons, sadly, we have been ignoring the current plight of hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors around the world who are living out their last days in wretched poverty.
In countries of the former Soviet Union and in the Jewish state itself, but also throughout Europe, and North and South America, more than 200,000 Holocaust survivors are suffering alone without enough food, medicine and heating fuel.
Tragically, few if any of the Yom HaShoah memorials will address this shameful fact. Standing silent year after year does not absolve us of the pressing moral imperative to care for these survivors. The clock is ticking. Every day 40 survivors die. Within the next decade, all those who experienced the Holocaust first-hand will almost certainly be gone.
We must immediately change our orientation to this solemn day by honoring the last Holocaust survivors before it’s too late. We must move from memorializing the past to also acting in the present. It’s about time that Jews, Christians and people of conscience everywhere unite to bring a measure of dignity to the last remaining Holocaust survivors in their final days...