Monday, May 05, 2008

How should the Charedi community acknowledge Yom Hashoa?

Having established that the arguments provided by most Charedim for ignoring Yom Hashoa are bogus and self-serving (see last week's posts and comments) we come to a follow-up question: How should the Charedi community acknowledge Yom Hashoa?

A short list of suggestions:

1 - Participate in your community events. I've lived in many places, and its always the same story. The OU and Young Israel shuls band together to co-sponsor a community event of some kind, which is boycotted or ignored by the Charedi shuls. I'm not sure how the Charedim justify excluding themselves from these types of events, but it should stop. Allowing your shul's name to be included on the events marketing material, posting the flyer in your shul, and mentioning the event in your weekly announcements will not be interpreted by anyone as an endorsement of (horrors) the modern orthodox hashkofa. I promise the cholent won't spoil, the kugel won't burn, and your children will not be put at any additional risk of going OTD. (Seriously, if any Charedi members of the audience can explain why Charedi shuls refuse to allow themselves to be associated with community Holocaust memorials, I'd like to hear it.)

2 - Teach about the Holocaust in your schools. Same deal: I've got intimate knowledge of what goes on in several Charedi schools, and not one of them does anything in their classrooms to acknowledge Yom Hashoa. Why not? There are dozens of different ways to teach the Holocaust, and plenty of teaching tools and aids that are easily aquired from various places. I'm sure the Charedi schools can find a way to teach the Holocaust that won't offend their hashkofa. Why haven't they? (I hope to put the Admar on the hot seat and find out what - if anything - he does in his school.)

3 - Dedicate a day of learning - or a siyum - to the six million. Lots of Charedi shuls have evening learning programs. Why can't they put a sign up reading: "Tonight's Torah learning is dedicated to the memory of those who perished at the hands of the Nazis." Even better, the Rav or leader of the program, can stand up and say a few words. Those shuls that make a careful point of arranging siyums for the nine days might ask themselves why matiring meat is more important than remembering the martyrs.

Simple basic stuff, that most Charedi shuls and schools do not do. The question is why.

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