Living monuments

Friday, April 20, 2007 |  by Staff Writer  

Ultra Orthodox name children after Holocaust victims

Israelis, whether Holocaust survivors themselves or the heirs of survivors, commemorated Holocaust Remembrance Day this past week by honoring the victims who suffered at the hands of the Nazis.

For the ultra-Orthodox, Holocaust Remembrance Day does not happen once a year, but it is something they carry with them from one generation to the next. There isn’t a family member in these communities who hasn’t named someone after a murdered relative.

“In every home the children are living monuments. We live the Holocaust anew every day,” said Yisrael Gliss, an Israeli Haredi journalist. Gliss responded to continual complaints that the ultra-Orthodox do not respect Holocaust Remembrance Day by standing when the siren sounds or taking part in public ceremonies.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewry is in the process of recovering its communities, which were once a thriving part of European society.

“I remember how my father, who was in Auschwitz, would tell us about the Jews who asked, ‘Don’t forget to say Kaddish for us,’” said Rabbi Meir Bar Haim. “Our Kaddish has been around for generations,” he said. Rabbi Bar-Haim is founder of the Israeli army’s ultra-Orthodox unit and spoke to hundreds of soldiers on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

His speech came amidst the new rise in Zionism amongst the ultra-Orthodox.

Rabbi Dunner says that the families of many yeshiva students come to live in Israel not because of anti-Semitism, but because of a return to Zion.

From his perspective the Holocaust’s most important lesson for the Jewish people is that “we must be prepared. When something like that starts, then it will be necessary to go to the Land of Israel,” he said.

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