Written by Ji Team
“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.”
After Passover, the Jewish calendar enters into the period called the Omer. This period was intended as a time of celebration leading up to Shavuot (Pentecost) when the Jews received the Torah at Mount Sinai. However, a Tragic event took place over a thousand years later when 24,000 students of the great Rabbi Akiva died in a plague. These were the future teachers of the nation and their death was a tremendous blow to the Jewish world. As a result, a period of mourning was instituted to help reflect on what perhaps caused this tragedy and rebuild our character as individuals and as a people.
Around 1800 years later, the infamous destruction came where 6 Million Jews were murdered in the Shoah- the Holocaust. During the Omer, Yom Ha Shoah – a Holocaust Memorial day was set up to remember this unforgettable black hole of Jewish history.
But a candle in the night, Yom Ha’atzmaut – Israel’s Independence day, arrived in the spring of 1948. Ice around the hearts of the Jews in the diaspora began to thaw and new hope brought warm blood into the veins of the embodiment of the ‘wandering Jew’.
Just as the G-d of the Hebrews brought them from the shackles of Egypt, the Hebrews were now brought home.
Yom Hazikaron, the day preceding Israel’s Independence Day, was declared by the Israeli Knesset (parliament) to be a Memorial Day for those who lost their lives in the struggle that led to the establishment of the State of Israel and for all military personnel who were killed while on active duty in Israel’s armed forces.
Yom Ha Shoah, Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut are important and powerful days, especially for our youth. The bearers of the Jewish torch and the custodians of the Jewish purpose need to know what their ancestors died for and what they should be living for.
Living in the modern climate in the diaspora, Jewish children can often feel disconnected to the past and also the future of their people. Education in these fundamental areas of the Jewish journey is a must.
Let Jigzi be a candle in the darkness, to inspire your teaching and learning of the next generation. Why don’t you visit it today?