The UN’s official institution of Holocaust Remembrance Day is a step in the right direction, but can easily become an empty gesture disguised as meaningful commemoration. In order to learn the lessons of the Holocaust, we must see both victims and perpetrators as real people—people like ourselves. A more effective way of teaching the lessons of the Shoah is via art, film, and literature, which allow us not just to remember what happened but to be changed by it.View full post
A Damaged Mirror explores the questions faced by the Jewish Sonderkommando in Birkenau. When does death becomes a moral obligation? What is the nature of responsibility when all choices are taken from us? These are the questions that Ovadya still wrestles with decades later.View full post
What does the mitzvah of Hanukkah teach us about Jewish survival in a world of declining nation-states? And why does the Gemara never even mention the historical circumstances of Hanukka—the military victory and the re-establishment of a Jewish state? It turns out that these two questions are bound up together in some surprising ways.View full post
The deception of his brother and his father must have weighed heavily on him. For nearly two decades he has lived away from home; ample time for the event to magnify itself in his mind and become a fixation. What else could I have done? He knows that he did wrong. He also knows that it was necessitated by the situation.View full post
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Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo speculates on the implications of resurgent memory in our day. Could it be that we are witnessing the revival of the dead without even recognizing it?
He can’t speak of what he was forced to do to survive the horrors of Birkenau. She is haunted by a memory of something she could not have lived. Together, they must unlock the gates of memory and face unspeakable horror, to find the hope that lies beyond despair.
How do we come to terms with the past? What is responsibility? What choice do we have when all choices are taken from us? How can we accept the unacceptable, and still be who we were? Even if others are willing to forgive, how can we forgive yourselves? How can we know we are truly forgiven?