National Holocaust Memorial Day - Use Your Voice

27th of January, the date Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet army, is the annual National Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) in many countries, and has been in the UK since 2001. This is not a Jewish festival, or a time for Jews to come together, but a time for national reflection, when we consider the sadness that lives with us, not only because of Europe's history, but because it continues to happen. Jews have our own Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom HaShoah) later in the year, so it really is a time for us to join with communities around us to learn from the horrors of the past, from the Holocaust to Cambodia to Rawanda to Darfur and on and on.
This years theme asks us to use our voice to speak out, and I was very impressed by this video released by the organisers of HMD:
We are all obligated to lift up our voices in the face of the horrors of the world, whether we have direct or familial experience of genocide or not.

This year, at WLS, we will be marking HMD this evening (Weds 25th) with a special evening service followed by speakers looking at how the Holocaust has been the root of their fight against genocide today. Perhaps I will see some of you there.
As today is also Rosh Chodesh, the start of the new moon of Shvat, the month in which we celebrate the new year for the Trees (TuBishvat), this quote from Anne Frank seemed like an appropriate way of joining HMD and TuBishvat:
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”
Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl


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