Every year, I watch the ceremony at Yad Vashem, and I cry.
It’s beautiful – our leaders appropriately somber and outraged. The IDF soldiers a living reminder that Israel is strong and can defend itself. And the survivors — six, who are called up each year to light a candle. One candle for each million murdered during the Holocaust.
Every year it’s beautiful. We honor the memory of the people who were stolen from us in unimaginable ways, and we celebrate the legacies of those who endured, and who are still with us.
And on the day itself, a siren sounds.
It’s amazing, really. You have to see it.
And yes, we must keep doing this because it’s important to #NeverForget.
But. We forgot someone. Actually, a lot of someones.
The actual survivors who need our help.
Because during the rest of the year, during the cold winters and the blistering summers, while housing prices soar with the cost of living, one out of four Holocaust survivors lives in poverty and isolation.
Let me repeat that: One. Out. Of. Four.
Yes, a staggering — no, a SICKENING — 25 % of all Holocaust survivors in Israel are struggling to pay the rent, or buy groceries. The children of the Holocaust are in their 70’s and 80’s now…
Some are all alone.
Others are sick.
I would imagine they all still have nightmares.
How are we letting this happen? How are we so willing to post memes and photos and say #NeverAgain on Facebook and Twitter, but we aren’t doing more to better the lives of the people who got through those unspeakable years?
Because while we talk a good line about never forgetting, we have forgotten.
So, let’s change that. Let’s help the people who need it. And in so doing, let us prove that we are the kinds of people who care about others in ways that will ensure we never allow our history to go into that darkness once again.
Because yes – it’s important to honor our dead. But it’s much more important to take care of our living.