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Shira Lankin Sheps
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From November 9 to October 7: My inheritance

Will my future grandchildren remember the day of terror the way I remember Kristallnacht?
A woman's hand holding a Star of David. (Shutterstock)
A woman's hand holding a Star of David. (Shutterstock)

I wonder if my grandchildren will know the date October 7th

The way I know November 9th.

I wonder if they will know —

The pit of dread we felt when the sirens blasted that morning,

The shock of horror as we discovered that people and places were burning,

The lives that were shattered,

The brothers and sisters, stolen.

The way they tried to destroy Jewish life. Again.

I wasn’t there on November 9th —

When the glass was shattered,

And the buildings and books were burning.

I wasn’t there when they carted people away,

And stole them from their families.

I wasn’t there as they silently watched the world they knew,

Come crumbling down to ashes.

But I remember,

Haunted by my grandmother’s memories,

Unglued by the way they came back to life,

In my own lifetime.

I wonder if my grandchildren will remember October 7th —

The way their great-uncles were called up to war,

The way we grabbed their mothers and fathers and ran for our lives,

When we knew that life here would never be the same.

I wonder if they will be branded by the Black Shabbat,

The way we were burned by Kristallnacht.

The days when the world was never again the same.

But if we live long enough to have grandchildren,

That means we survived —

Just as our grandparents did.

Because our living,

Is proof our enemy lost, again.

So know the dates,

And make meaning of them.

Celebrate everything else we’ve given you —

This holy homeland,

These sacred days.

On my grandfather’s deathbed,

He left me with one word —

“Zachor.”

So my grandchild, if I ever get the chance,

I’ll ask the same of you —

Remember these days,

And know,

That if you exist,

Live like we’ve won.

About the Author
Shira Lankin Sheps is a writer, photographer, and clinically trained therapist. She is the executive director and founder of The SHVILLI Center, which provides resources for building emotional resilience and promotes mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. She is the founder, former publisher, and editor-in-chief of The Layers Project Magazine and the author of 'Layers: Personal Narratives of Struggle, Resilience, and Growth from Jewish Women.' Shira lives in Jerusalem with her husband and children.
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