YOM HASHOAH

April 25, 2019 at 4:45 am

As Holocaust Remembrance Day approaches, two renowned rabbis ask, “what is the message of yesterday for today?”

Aired on April 24, 2019.

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>>> AS ANTI-SEMITISM AND WHITE
NATIONALISM CONTINUE TO GROW
BOTH ONLINE AND AROUND THE
WORLD, SO HAS THE DENIAL AND
REVISIONIST HISTORY OF THE
HOLOCAUST.
ACCORDING TO THE NAZIS' RECORDS,
6 MILLION JEWS, ONE-THIRD OF ALL
EUROPEAN JEWRY, WERE
SYSTEMATICALLY MURDERED OVER SIX
YEARS IN THE LIKES HUMANITY HAD
NEVER SEEN BEFORE OR SINCE.
HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY BEGINS
AT SUNDOWN ON MAY 1st.
THE HOLIDAY HONORS THE VICTIMS
OF THE ATROCITY.
THIS YEAR THE CONGREGATION ON
LONG ISLAND WILL HOST A SPECIAL
PROGRAM WELCOMING NEWS AND J
NONJEWS ALIKE TO DISCUSS THIS
QUESTION.
WHAT IS THE MESSAGE OF YESTERDAY
FOR TODAY?
HERE TO HELP ANSWER THAT
QUESTION, RABBI JOSEPH, THE
EVENTS GUEST SPEAKER AND
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE
NEW YORK BOARD OF RABBIS.
ALSO, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF
HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY.
WELCOME TO BOTH OF YOU.
THANK YOU FOR SPENDING SOME TIME
WITH US.
FIRST, LET ME TOSS OUT SOME VERY
TROUBLING STATISTICS FOR YOU.
REASON STUDY REVEALED THAT
ONE-THIRD OF ALL AMERICANS
BELIEVE THE SCOPE OF THE MURDER
OF JEWS IN THE HOLOCAUST WAS
EXAGGERATED.
ONE-THIRD OF THE PEOPLE.
THIS FAIRLY EXTENSIVE STUDY, IT
SHOWS THAT ADDITIONALLY, 66% OF
MILLENNIALS COULD NOT STATE THE
SIGNIFICANCE OF AUSCHWITZ.
70% THAT PEOPLE ARE LESS
CONCERNED ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST
TODAY THAN IN THE PAST.
WHILE 58% BELIEVE THE HOLOCAUST
OR SOMETHING LIKE IT COULD
HAPPEN AGAIN.
WHEN YOU HEAR THOSE NUMBERS,
WHAT IS YOUR IMMEDIATE REACTION?
>> I THINK IT IS FRIGHTENING.
THE FACT THAT WE HAVE SO MANY
DIFFERENT PLACES TO FIND THE
NEWS, THE FACT THAT WE HAVE SO
MANY DIFFERENT WEBSITES.
WHAT ARE PEOPLE LOOKING AT?
WHAT ARE THEY READING THAT THEY
ARE GETTING THAT KIND OF
MISINFORMATION?
SO I'M WORRIED ABOUT HOW WE
TRANSMIT, HOW WE CONVEY.
AND MAKING SURE THAT WE GET THE
STORY OUT.
THE REAL STORY OUT.
NOT SOME KIND OF FACTUAL
REVISION I OR UP IN A FACTUAL
REV
REVISIONISM.
>> JUST GOING BACK TO THOSE
NUMBERS, WORKING WITH ELMS, ARE
YOU SURPRISED THAT 66% CAN'T
EVEN EXPRESS THE ROLE OF
AUSCHWITZ AND THE SIGNIFICANCE?
>> WELL, I HAVE TO DEGREE.
I THINK THE FACT THOSE NUMBERS
ARE TRUE, IT'S SCARY WHEN WE
THINK ABOUT WHAT OUR YOUNG
PEOPLE ARE THINKING ABOUT AND
THE DIFFERENT NARRATIVES THAT
THEY'RE CONSTANTLY BEING
BOMBARDED WITH ONLINE AND IN
BOOKS THEY READ, MAGAZINE
ARTICLES.
THE FACT THAT THERE IS A PLACE
FOR OTHER OPINIONS THAT ARE JUST
BEING PUT OUT WITHOUT ANY
COUNTER BALANCE, I THINK, IS
REALLY VERY SCARY.
I THINK FOR THEM, IT IS VERY
HARD TO FATHOM A NUMBER LIKE 6
MILLION.
YOU GO TO GIANTS STADIUM, WE'RE
TALKING ABOUT 80,000 PEOPLE.
A COULD GO CAMPUS.
THERE MIGHT BE 7,000 UNDERGRADS.
TO HEAR A NUMBER LIKE THAT, IT
IS JUST CHALLENGING FOR THEM TO
GET THEIR MINDS AROUND.
>> THE TALK THAT YOU'RE GOING TO
GIVE, WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE GOING
TO BE IN TERMS OF WHAT WE CAN
LEARN FROM YESTERDAY?
WHAT WE NEED TO LEARN.
MAYBE THAT'S A BETTER WAY.
WHAT WE NEED TO LEARN FROM
YESTERDAY.
>> FIRST, I THINK IT WAS SAID
YEARS AGO THAT THE TRAGEDY OF
THE HOLOCAUST WAS THAT THE NAZIS
THOUGHT THEY COULD GET AWAY WITH
IT AND THEY DID GET AWAY WITH
IT.
FOR SO MANY MILLIONS TO HAVE
BEEN SLAUGHTERED.
THE SECOND LESSON OBVIOUSLY IS
THAT WE SHOULD HAVE SHOUTED.
INSTEAD WE WERE SITE.
WHEN YOU LOOK AT REPORTS WHAT
WAS BEING TRANSMITTED IN VARIOUS
PUBLICATIONS, THE HOLOCAUST WAS
ONE OF MANY STORIES.
IT WAS NOT THE PRIMARY STORY.
SO JUST IMAGINE THAT PEOPLE ARE
BEING MURDERED AND YET BARBECUES
ARE TAKING PLACES.
IT WAS ANOTHER DAY IN THE NEWS.
SO I THINK WE HAVE TO PRIORITIZE
AND PUBLICIZE THINGS WHICH RAE
DEMAND OUR ATTENTION.
SO ALL OF US HAVE TO SHOUT
RATHER THAN BE SILENT.
YOU MENTIONED ABOUT THE PEOPLE,
WHEN YOU GO ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES,
THERE ARE HOLOCAUST COURSES
BEING TAUGHT EVERYWHERE.
I DON'T THINK YOU CAN GO TO ANY
CAMPUS --
>> MORE SO THAN EVER.
>> YES.
SO THIS DICHOTOMY OF THE
INFORMATION BEING CAUGHT AND
MISINFORMATION BEING LEARNED IS
SOMETHING THAT WE HAVE TO
ADDRESS AS BEST WE CAN.
AND BY THE WAY, WE CAN'T WAIT
UNTIL LATER ON.
BECAUSE KIDS, THEIR MINDS ARE
FORMATIVE.
I'M A CHILD OF SURVIVORS.
MY PARENTS LOST FIVE CHILDREN
DURING THAT HORRIFIC PERIOD.
I'VE ALWAYS MADE A POINT OF
TELLING THEIR STORY.
EVEN THOUGH THEY DID NOT WANT TO
TALK ABOUT IT TOO MUCH.
I'VE TOLD THEIR STORY.
THIS GENERATION OF SURVIVORS IS
DIMINISHING.
>> WE'VE DONE SOME CONVERSATIONS
WITH FOLKS HERE WHO ARE
SURVIVORS AND TALKING ABOUT HOW
WE PRESERVE THE STORIES.
HOW DO WE MAKE SURE THEY'RE
TOLD?
>> THAT GETS ME TO YOU.
TELL ME THE HOLOCAUST
REMEMBRANCE DAY.
YOU WANT TO FOCUS ON THE YOUNG
PEOPLE.
>> SO ALTHOUGH THIS IS NEVER TOO
FAR FROM WHAT WE'RE DOING ALL
THE TIME, WHICH IS A REAL KEY.
SPECIFICALLY FOR HOLOCAUST
REMEMBRANCE DAY, WE HAVE SEVERAL
ACTIVITIES.
ONE, WE BRING IN A SPEAKER.
WE HAVE A SURVIVOR COME TO
SPEAK.
WE HOST SOMETHING CALLED SIX
HOURS FOR THE SIX MILLION.
FOR SIX HOURS, STUDENTS COME
TAKE FIVE OR TEN-MINUTE BLOCKS.
THEY COME IN AND READ NAMES OF
THOSE LOST IN THE HOLOCAUST.
THE BOOK OF NAMES WE HAVE ARE
ACTUALLY CHILDREN THAT HAVE
PERISHED.
TO SEE PEOPLE, AND THIS IS
ADMINISTRATORS, STUDENTS,
MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY, COME.
WE ENCOURAGE THEM TO BRING THEIR
OWN NAMES IF THEY HAVE THEM IN
THEIR FAMILY.
YOU CAN SEE THE IMPACT HAPPEN
IMMEDIATELY.
AND ALSO, TO READ THE NAMES.
THEY READ THE NAMES AND THE
AGES.
FOR ME PERSONALLY, YOU'LL SIT
THERE AND YOU'LL HEAR A NAME, A
FAMILY NAME AND AN AGE, AND THEN
THE SAME FAMILY NAME FIVE TIMES,
SIX TIMES.
YOU CAN SEE ON THEIR FACE, THE
IMPACT THAT IT IS MAKING.
>> I HEAR FOLKS, CHILDREN OF
HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS, AND I HEARD
THEM SAY THEIR GENERATION
REMEMBERS.
SO WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO SO THAT
THIS NEXT GENERATION AND
SUBSEQUENT GENERATIONS, NOT JUST
KNOW, BUT TRULY UNDERSTAND?
HOW DO WE DO IT?
>> RWANDA, SOMALIA, YOU LOOK
AROUND THE WORLD AT PLACES THAT
HAVE SUFFERED SO MUCH GENOCIDE.
I THINK THEY HAVE TO KNOW THAT
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE HOLOCAUST
CAN HAVE A DIFFERENT
MANIFESTATION FOR ANOTHER
PEOPLE.
AND IT CAN HAPPEN TO JEWS.
I THINK WE HAVE TO ALSO TELL OUR
KIDS THAT THERE IS A POSITIVE
SIDE TO RELIGION.
THERE'S A POSITIVE SIDE.
IF ALL WE TALK ABOUT IS THE
HOLOCAUST.
AS IMPORTANT AS IT IS, AFTER A
WHILE KIDS SAY IT IS ALL VICTIM
HOOD.
THERE HAS TO BE MORE THAN THAT.
>> WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, THAT
WAS THE MAIN IDEA.
THAT THE HOLOCAUST BECAME SUCH A
CENTRAL PART OF THE NARRATIVE.
TRUTHFULLY, WHEN STUFF HAPPENED,
WE WERE UNPREPARED IN MANY WAYS.
I THINK THAT THE KEY REALLY IS
THE TWO THINGS.
ONE IS THE HONOR AND THE
EDUCATION.
WHEN WE'RE REMEMBERING THESE
PEOPLE, THEY'RE REAL PEOPLE WITH
REAL STORIES.
AND THESE THINGS COMING UP, THEY
CONNECTED VERY WELL TO WHO WE
ARE TODAY.
>> THANK YOU SO MUCH.
A REMINDER FOR YOU FOR MORE
INFORMATION ON THE
CONGREGATION'S HOLOCAUST
REMEMBRANCE EVENT, YOU CAN VISIT
OUR WEBSITE AT METROFOCUS.ORG.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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