Apr 12, 2013

Never Again

Never Again. Two words. A commitment of our people for almost 70 years since the end of the Holocaust. Writing this week between the annual commemorations of Yom HaShoah when we remember the more than 6 million who perished at the hands of the Nazi regime, and Yom HaAtzmaut when we celebrate the miracle of the modern State of Israel, those two words resound: Never Again.

Certainly, this battle cry has been heard loud and clear in epic events that have most visibly carried out this commitment. On Monday, Yom HaShoah, the Times of Israel featured a powerful article about the 1960 capture of Adolph Eichmann in Argentina; Israel’s Mossad agents went halfway around the world to bring evil to justice in this shining example. We heard “Never Again” on July 4, 1976, when Israeli commandos flew in the middle of the night to the heart of Africa to rescue Israeli hostages in Entebbe. And on June 7, 1981, when the IDF’s air force destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor for fear of Saddam Hussein building a weapon to destroy Israel.

But Never Again resonates not only in Israel’s might or in renowned acts of heroism. We hear it l’dor v’dor in our own community through the many ways our synagogues, schools, Federation, agencies and other organizations ensure that our children and grandchildren will pass on the memories and lessons of the Holocaust as far more than “ancient history.” Right now, our high school students are on the annual March of the Living trip. They explored the depths of the Shoah in Poland, marched unforgettably from Auschwitz to Birkenau alongside thousands of peers from across the globe on Yom HaShoah, and are now in Israel where next week they will joyously celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut. You can follow their trip through the 2013 Blogs and Pics tab at molsouth.org.

We hear it when our Holocaust survivors courageously share their stories, viscerally making them part of the narrative of our people. Many survivors are part of our community’s moving array of Yom HaShoah events, which our Federation publicizes throughout the community. Last month, more than 100 Donna Klein Jewish Academy high school students had a remarkable opportunity to hear and speak with Schindler’s List author Thomas Keneally and one of Schindler’s survivors, thanks to Mizner Park Festival of the Arts Patrons Donna & Andy Robins (former Federation Chair), Edith & Martin Stein, and our Federation’s Department of Jewish Education. Members of our King David Society saw the author and several Schindler survivors that evening.

But Never Again means more than reflecting on the Shoah once a year. It is incumbent upon each of us to ensure through our words and deeds that Never Again goes far beyond a slogan and some special events. It is up to each of us to see that Never Again is embedded throughout Jewish life – by not only educating but also caring for each other - as individuals and as a community. Our work together to protect, sustain and further the well-being, strength and ruach of our Jewish people not only changes lives and communities. It is nothing less than our own powerful battle cry of Never Again, to which each of us adds a vital voice.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas on how to amplify this voice from our community, at asktheceo@bocafed.org.

B’shalom,

Matthew C. Levin, President & CEO
Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County

Past Messages from Matt