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Yom Hashoah: The importance of remembrance

The most prominent holiday this week was Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. A recent study emphasized how important it is to dedicate days to remember significant moments in our history because people tend to not remember on their own.

A new study about Holocaust awareness in the United States released on April 12 found that 11 percent of all adults in the United States and 22 percent of Millennials are unaware  of or not sure about the Holocaust.

Other findings included that although there were over 40,000 camps and ghettos during the Holocaust, 49 percent of Millennials can’t name a single one. Seven out of 10 Americans (70 percent) say fewer people seem to care about the Holocaust than they used to and a majority of Americans (58 percent) believe something like the Holocaust could happen again. (Schoen Consulting, commissioned by The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which negotiates restitution for Holocaust victims and their heirs, conducted more than 1,350 interviews for the study.)

As someone who read “The Diary of Anne Frank” in elementary school and grew up with learning about it and hearing many firsthand experiences from survivors, it’s hard to imagine people not being aware that it happened. But as time passes, that period in history gets further and further away. So many horrible things are happening now – like the chemical attack in Syria last weekend –  that attention is diverted from the past.

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On the bright side, 93 percent of respondents believe that all students should learn about the Holocaust in school and 80 percent say it is important to keep teaching about the Holocaust so it does not happen again.

“The issue is not that people deny the Holocaust; the issue is just that it’s receding from memory,” Greg Schneider, the executive vice president of the Claims Conference, told The New York Times.  “People may not know the details themselves, but they still think it’s important. That is very heartening.”

 

Other holidays this week

Other holidays this past week seem rather insignificant compared to Yom Hashoah, but I’ll touch upon them briefly.

Passover ended on April 7 and we celebrated the return to chametz with the standard pizza. April 8 is National All Is Ours Day which can either be celebrated by appreciating the great beauty around us that we all share or appreciating what we have and not dwelling on what we don’t.  April 5 was National Go For Broke Day, which is a day to wager everything. I prepared my submissions for a local song contest, rerecording four songs this past week so I could mail them in by the contest deadline. I knew I didn’t have much of a chance, but I wanted to at least give it a try. The names were announced on Tuesday and my name wasn’t on the list.

April 10 is National Cinnamon Crescent Roll Day so I bought some crescent rolls from Trader Joe’s and added the cinnamon-sugar mixture. They were a hit. April 10 is also National Sibling Day – love you, sis! If you lived closer, you could have stopped by for a cinnamon crescent roll.

April 13 is National Blame Someone Else Day, which was celebrated, though not intentionally. The person that tends to get blamed around here is “Not Me.” Who did this? “Not Me.” Kind of like in The Family Circus comics. We wrote a song about it years ago to the tune of “B-I-N-G-O”: “N-O-T-M-E, N-O-T-M-E, N-O-T-M-E and Not Me was his name-o.”

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