As yesterday was Yom HaShoah, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, The Fellowship’s Senior Vice President Yael Eckstein wrote about her experiences on this moving observance for those who perished and those who survived:
It’s been 70 years since the Holocaust ended, but I have spoken to countless Holocaust survivors who are still haunted by the ungodly stench of death and burning bodies.
It’s been 70 years since the concentration camps were liberated, yet they are still so alive in the mind, spirit, and consciousness of my people.
It’s been 70 years since the world first vowed “never again,” but with the recent increase of anti-Semitic acts that has occurred, it seems like that vow is already being forgotten.
Cars stop. Schools stop. Markets stop. Meetings stop. The stock market stops. And for a moment, we all stand quietly, unified, remembering.
This morning, like so many others, I stopped my car on the side of the highway just a few minutes before 10 a.m. in preparation. And as the siren began to blare, and the highway instantly transformed into a parking lot, I closed my eyes and was transported to a different world.
The images were vivid in my mind: human bodies that were nothing more than skin and bones, the yellow star on the coat of small children, the smoke rising over cities carrying the ashes of human beings, and transport trains packed with hundreds of people in one tiny car, gasping for air.
As the siren blared, I thought of how dozens of my family members perished a needless and terrifying death and how six million of my people were transformed into ashes.
And then the siren stopped.
I opened my teary eyes to see my godly, miraculous surroundings.
The land of Israel. Jews of all colors, from all four corners of the world living free and proud in our biblical homeland. Israeli soldiers with the Star of David on their shoulders. The holy language of Hebrew being revived.
My heart was overflowing with emotion. This is how the Jewish people function. We remember the tragedies that our people have endured, we keep them in our heart always, and then we rebuild.
As I remember the Holocaust, which ended only 70 years ago, and then I look around at where I am today living in a thriving Jewish homeland with the traditions of our forefathers being revived there are words my heart calls out over and over:
Thank you, Lord, for bringing me to this day!
With blessings from the Holy Land,