Today is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, and our halls are somber. Six yellow candles burn quietly, a constant reminder in the midst of our work and school day.
I spent this morning as I do each Monday I am able, at minyan with our Krieger Schechter Lower School students. Their lovely minyan filled with song and many firsts (first time reciting Ashrei, first time reading Torah…) is one of the best kept secrets in the building. This morning they marked Yom Ha Shoah with a short program led by the fourth graders. Hearing Hannah Szenes’ Eili Eili and the Partisan Song sung by these sweet, young voices was such a poignant way to mark this observance.
But for me the most touching part of today’s remembrance was a single image. The program was accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation of photos, maps, and lyrics. The projector had been set up before minyan so projected during services were the words zachor We Remember. As the student hazzanit (prayer leader) took the Torah from the ark and stood before the congregation, her shadow appeared on the screen with the Torah in her arms just below the word zachor. We adults in the room were struck powerfully by the visual reminder of the past and the promise of the future.
At the end of minyan and the program the students were brought outside to see spring flowers. Back in November during Kristallnacht they had planted bulbs and as was explained to them on that cold, wet, dreary day, those bulbs contained within them the hope that something beautiful would grow. Today they saw the flowers and we saw them.
As I returned to my office I could hear the children’s voices as they walked through the hallways on the way back to their classrooms, singing ve yehudah le olam teishev. “Judah shall live forever and Jerusalem from generation to generation.” Indeed.