Jeffrey Levine
CFO | Seeking a just world I Author

Lessons from the Holocaust after October 7th

I decided to write this blog at the new National Library of Israel in Jerusalem to imbibe our history of Judaism and connection to the land of Israel. The Library, in true tolerance, has significant collections of books on Christianity and Islam.

The cover photo of this blog is my computer from the website of the International Committee of the Red Cross (how ironic) with books in the background at the Library.

I will basically share what I wrote in previous years. Only this year after, it is so much more poignant.

Keywords – Remembering, Obsession, Cruelty, Resilience, Double standards, Lies and distortion, ignorance, Evil leaders, Tikkun Olam – Israel & Unity

These are some words and thoughts as we enter Yom HaShoah.

After October 7th, we are in trauma and shock –Not only by the events, but the reaction of the world.  Is it Blood Libel, or just plain ignorance or anti-Semitism?

It’s unfortunate but true that the world often seems to be preoccupied with negativity, conflict, and the darker aspects of human nature rather than with the pursuit of healing and repair, as embodied by the concept of Tikkun Olam.

Lets look the Definition of Obsession:

Obsession refers to an intense, often irrational fixation or preoccupation with a particular idea, object, or goal. When someone becomes obsessed with a single cause, they devote excessive time, energy, and resources to pursuing it, often at the expense of other important aspects of their life.

“Obsession with a single cause to the exclusion of others can lead to various dangers, both for the individual and society.”

The world’s obsession with this conflict perpetuates polarisation and violence around the world, hindering efforts for real peace and reconciliation.

One example is this Obsession.

@susansarandon proudly denies all atrocities committed by H@m@s on October 7, referring them as MYTHS.

However, for our sanity, we need to focus on ourselves and not let this stupidity derail us from our mission and life.

Let us start with Remembering.

Today is the yahrzeit of my grandfather, Edward Klein (Yitzchak Ben Modechai), my mother Marion’s father. He passed away when I was young, and I find myself reflecting on my limited memories of him. Life is fragile and fleeting, like flowers in a field—here one day, gone the next. Who will remember our lives, the life of our ancestors? I hear he was a good and kind person, and though I know a few stories about him, there remains a gap in my memory.

Photo of my grandparents who escaped Germany to the UK before the war. My mother was born in London.

This day holds particular significance as it falls in the period of Yom HaShoah, commemorating the Holocaust, and Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzma’ut, celebrating Israel’s independence.

As we remember the horrors of the Holocaust and honour the resilience of its survivors, we are reminded of how little we really know.

We are still in the trauma of the horrors of the 7th Of October, the shock of the world’s reaction from the 8th of October, where we have been bombarded with obsession, hate, lies, blood libels, ignorance and denials,

We can not let this hate, etc, pull us down.

We have the privilege and responsibility of living in the land of Israel and much to be grateful for.

Reflecting on Israel’s role in society and the world, I am struck by the persistence of evil in the world. Despite our efforts to eradicate it, evil remains a part of our reality. We must learn to live with this trauma and accept that it is an inherent part of the human experience. In the face of personal and global uncertainty, we are called to embrace the negatives and grow from them.

In the story of Sukkot, dwelling in fragile booths, we are reminded of the concept of radical uncertainty. In a world filled with uncertainties, we must find strength in adversity and strive to become stronger and better people. As we navigate the challenges of life, may we find solace in the hope that our experiences, both positive and negative, will ultimately shape us into who we are meant to be.

I lack knowledge of my grandfather, the Holocaust or even more recent tragedies like October 7th. We live in a different age and world, an age of selective memory and lack of caring. It is up to us to care, remember and act.

The same with the Holocaust. Indeed, in this article, the question is asked:

Do Young Jews Observe Yom HaShoah? Will Oct. 7 Change Anything?

By Rabbi Efrem Goldberg

“Does October 7 make the Holocaust more or less relevant to the average person? Will they be more or less likely to want to commemorate it? And most importantly, how much does it even matter?”

It does matter!! This is what I wrote in previous years. There is no need to change anything. However, these words are more powerful and relevant this year.

Human conditioning

Well, the masks are off, and I feel like people are aliens. It is frightening that masks have become the new norm. It is scary how people (The Nazis) were conditioned to be cruel and how resilient the Jews and other prisoners were. The change from freedom to slavery was instant – stuffed like sardines in barns and/or cattle trucks – without food, toilet washing and change of clothing for three days. Family members were killed in front of their eyes. Instant separation and never seeing parents, siblings or children. How any nation or person can be so cruel is beyond human comprehension.

Double Standards

In WW2, at least the British took up arms and gave their lives to fight the evil. Not so much today in the Ukraine invasion by Russia.

Britain, who had the mandate over Palestine, demonstrated double standards through the white paper, which stopped immigration into Palestine and could have saved millions of Jews. In addition, they were cruel to the Jewish cause and favoured the Arabs despite the mandate of a Jewish state. Not only did they allow Arabs to enter the country freely, but their policy of not allowing a safe harbour for the victims of the Holocaust is a black shame in their history.

And even today, our so-called friends exhibit a double standard when engaging with Israel.

Lies and distortion

Why is there so much distortion of facts?

Why are evil extremists’ ideas allowed to be accepted as mainstream?

Just look at these photos and resources. As they say, a picture is worth  1000 words.

Evil leaders

We seem to live in a world of greed and evil, rich vs. poor, good vs. bad.

The average person is a slave to the system. Pawns in the hands of evil leaders like Putin, People (soldiers) giving up their lives for evil, unnecessary wars.

We are indifferent

While many organisations, especially Israel and Jewish organisations, have assisted the suffering of Ukraine people, the majority of us just continue with our lives.

Maybe we have some thoughts of empathy, but why is Ukraine different from Syria or any of the many current wars going on today?

And why is Ukraine different from Gaza?

Why is the world so obsessed with Israel, and all the other wars (Russia..), terror, and human rights violations get a free pass?

Blind Hatred

I want to share some of excerpts from the address by then-Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the opening ceremony of Israel’s annual Holocaust Heroes and Martyrs Memorial Day. It is outstanding in its multiple messages. Bennett declared that there is nothing to compare to the pure evil of the Holocaust. And, he said, there is no rational explanation for antisemitism. Therefore, only a strong Israel can assure the safety of the Jewish people in the face of this irrational hate.

“My brothers and sisters, the Holocaust is an unprecedented event in human history. I take the trouble to say this because as the years go by, there is more and more discourse in the world that compares other difficult events to the Holocaust. But no. Even the most difficult wars today are not the Holocaust and are not comparable to the Holocaust.

“No event in history, cruel as it may have been, is comparable to the Holocaust – the extermination of Europe’s Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators.

“Unfortunately, history is full of cruel wars, brutal murders and also genocide. But it is usually a means designed to achieve a goal, some sort of expectation – military, political, economic, religious. The case of the extermination of the Jews is different.

“Never, in any place or during any time, has one people acted to destroy another in such a planned, systematic and indifferent way, from a place of absolute ideology and not out of utilitarianism. The Nazis did not kill Jews to take their jobs or their homes. The Nazis sought to hunt all Jews and exterminate every last one of them.

“A Jew in the Holocaust had no way of escape. No way to surrender, nowhere to be expelled to, no way of escape by conversion or change of behavior. Nothing. Because the extermination was carried out based on if you were a Jew, regardless of your actions.

“The Germans spared no effort to carry out their work. For example, in April 1944, a special Gestapo team was sent to distant hiking trails in the French Alps to capture and murder 20

“Hate is an easy emotion to operate and inflame. This darkest aspect of the human psyche sometimes erupts in the form of blind hatred for the other, the idea that if only they would disappear, all problems would be solved.

The World is in need of a Tikkun Olam

Looking Ahead: Building a Better Future

As we commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, let us recommit ourselves to the values of tolerance, understanding, and respect for human dignity. By learning from the past and working together towards a more inclusive and just society, we can honour the memory of the victims and create a world where hatred and discrimination have no place.

Together, let us strive to build a brighter future for generations to come.

This is a continuing discussion,

Images – sourced from Social media

About the Author
Jeffrey is a CFO | Seeking a just world I Author -living in Jerusalem. He is a young grandfather who has five kids and seven grandchildren. Jeffrey is promoting a vision for a better and fairer world through and is the author of Upgrading ESG - How Business can thrive in the age of Sustainability
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