Posted on May 1, 2019
Eloheinu shebeshamayim sheboreh hakol vebarech aleinu – Our God in Heaven, the Creator of all, and the One who brings blessing to us.
I am humbled to stand here at this moment in this sacred place to remember. I stand here as the grandchild of a woman who fled from Berlin as a child after experiencing the horrors of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass. I stand here as a Rabbi who recognizes the sacred task you have taken upon yourselves v’hagein baadeinu, v’haseir mei-aleinu – to shield and shelter us beneath the shadow of your wings. And I stand here as a person who is filled with awe and gratitude for the work you do each and every day yaaseh shalom vetzedek tirdof l’kol haolam – bringing peace and pursuing justice for all the world.
On this day we are united in memory. Together we recall one of the darkest times in human history.
Yizkor – We remember the murder of six million Jews and the eleven million total who were killed during the Holocaust, as evil, prejudice, and hate took hold of our world. We mourn for what was lost in each of these souls, we are heartbroken at the suffering that was endured by so many, and we shed tears for those who bear the scars of that terrible time. And while many decades have passed since that time, we pledge Lo tishkach – We will never forget the tragedy that occurred, the suffering that was endured, and the millions who perished. We carry the lessons and stories as a clarion call for our world today and a warning about what is unfortunately possible in this world.
Yizkor – We remember the courageous souls who declared that this injustice must cease: those men and women who found themselves in a far away land battling against the forces of hate and persecution, evil and injustice. We are forever grateful to the liberators who brought hope, life, and light to the darkest places on earth, destroying that wicked and evil regime. And while many decades have passed since that time, we pledge Lo tishkach – We will never forget the sacrifices that they made and the lives that they saved through their commitment and dedication. We carry the values that they held dear: truth, justice, and kindness, recognizing our responsibility to spread them across the world.
Eloheinu – Our God, we ask that You help us to remember that terrible moment in human history and the stories that we have heard and will hear. We bear witness to those experiences and we carry them forward to generations who have yet to hear and are yet to know. We will be the teachers ensuring that these stories are never forgotten.
Eloheinu – Our God, give us the strength to learn the difficult lessons of this time. Help us to be ever alert to the spread of evil and hate, knowing that we bear responsibility for bringing light and life to the world. We will be mindful of the power we possess and ever alert to opportunities to spread goodness and blessing.
We pray at this time that history will never repeat itself, and we recognize our responsibility to ensure that the voices and forces of hate will be cut off, and that the sound of shalom – peace, will ring out through the land.
Oseh Shalom bimromav, hu yaseh shalom aleinu, v’al kol Yisrael, val kol yoshvei tevel v’imru amen. May the One who makes peace in the highest, bring this peace upon us, upon all Israel, and for all who inhabit this world.
Ken Yehi ratzon – May this be God’s will and let us say, Amen.