I hate Yom HaShoa
I want to disappear for the 25 hours of it
I don’t want to hear about it, talk about it, learn about it, know about it.
Because I’ve never known a day without the Shoah. It’s in my head, my veins, my soul.
It fills me with pain and rage and it halts my breath.
I grew up with Survivor grandparents.
One of the first things I ever published was the story of my 11 year old uncle who was murdered by Nazis.
I saw the yurtzeit candles every holiday, all lit up for people my mother never knew. Brothers and sisters killed before she was born.
I sat with my grandparents as they shed tears for the children murdered in front of their eyes.
I held their hands as they cried for the life of happiness and safety that was just an illusion.
I grew up knowing we were never fully secure.
I have trauma though I’d never thought of it that way.
I could never be a bystander, or look the other way when someone was being teased.
I stood up to bullies far larger than myself, never backing down.
And I always knew words were never just words.
I didn’t want to go to the March of the Living.
I didn’t want to walk the tracks. I didn’t want to see the ovens. I didn’t want to touch the scratches on the walls.
But I went.
And I wrote about that trip and how it changed my life as I stood in a vandalized and neglected Jewish cemetery and swore I’d never live at someone else’s mercy again.
We third generation all share stories; of an escape plan, of grandparents who sleep with shoes on, of the money in the mattress, of the bag in the closet.
It may sound funny. But the truth is devastating.
We are a people with collective trauma and the knowledge they we are never safe in anyone else’s hands.
Who can judge how traumatized people behave?
Who can put themselves in their shoes?
Who can understand the instinct of survival when the threat lurks within?
I hate Yom HaShoah.
Because it’s necessary.
Because a people who don’t remember their past have no future.
Because a world that can’t face its worst moments is a world that will repeat them.
Because Anti-Semitism is here. It’s loud and it is everywhere.
It’s on the left and it’s on the right.
It is in the middle in its subtle ways.
It is disguised and it is blatant.
It is in the United States of America.
It is the currency in which the world trades.
Less than 0.2% of the world’s population is the #1 topic of conversation.
Everyone loves the weak Jew.
Everyone loves to hate the strong Jew.
And dead Jews are the best Jews.
I hate Yom HaShoah
Because we say Never Again, but we don’t know.
Because we tell our children they are safe, but we can’t be sure.
Because we aren’t even allowed the refuge the world granted to a decimated people anymore.
How quickly the world forgets.
How vital that we remember.
How much I don’t want to.