Dear Friend of Israel
Earlier this week on Yom HaShoah, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, we honored those who were murdered during that horrible chapter in history. And we gave thanks for those – many of them Christians – who fought back against Nazi evil.
Perhaps we hoped that the murder of 6 million Jews – along with millions of others – would spur humanity to finally bring an end to what one writer called the “longest and deepest hatred of human history.” But, though we often like to think we live in a more civilized time, hateful anti-Semitism – the animating force behind the Holocaust – is as alive and well as it ever has been.
It is our moral obligation to stand against that hatred. And, of course, it’s profoundly important that we memorialize the past. But we must also fulfill our moral obligation to the dwindling number of survivors who are living in unspeakable poverty. In my travels through Israel and the former Soviet Union, I have met many of these people. Having lived through one of the most terrible chapters in history, they only desire to live out the rest of their years with a measure of peace and comfort.
After the Holocaust, the Jewish people adopted “never again” as their watchword. I propose a new guiding principle that we must follow as we see Holocaust survivors living – and dying – in terrible circumstances: We remember. We act. We remember their terrible suffering; we act to alleviate their current struggle with poverty. We remember the families torn apart; we act to provide companionship to those who today have no family to comfort them. We remember the legacy of terror; we act to create a legacy of hope and healing.
On our special website you can learn more about the terrible realities of the Holocaust, and the difficult, but necessary lessons they can teach us. And you can join hundreds of thousands of Fellowship supporters in our new global campaign to move from commemoration towards action that will help the thousands of Holocaust survivors who remain, but who live in crushing poverty.
My friends, time is running out. Just as we honored the memory of the 6 million on Yom HaShoah, let us also act to provide dignity to Holocaust survivors. And let us pray for the day when God will bless His entire world with His most precious gift – the gift of shalom, peace.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President