Monday, January 27, 2014

Did You Stop Today?

Janusz Korczak Memorial at Yad Vashem (Jerusalem, 2009).

Today marked the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This day, determined by the United Nations in 2005 (yes, it took that long), is one of the many days throughout the year when we, Jews and non-Jews alike, should step back, take stock, and embrace all that we have in life. Heck, just enjoy the fact that we have a life that we are living. Even when we have gone through tough times whether financially or physically, I have always made a point to stop. That is the first thing that we all need to do on this day.

We need to take notice of how the Israelis recognize the souls lost during that black hole in our history when they stop (even in the middle of the highway), stand, and remain quiet as the sirens pierce the morning across Israel on their Holocaust Memorial Day (which falls in April/May). It is this act of stopping, of inaction, that accentuates the need for action. Action not just of our minds to remember but in our bodies to act against the evil in this world. We must ensure that the environment is never again fostered to allow something such as this to happen again.

I am not going to proceed by outlining what I believe is right or wrong. You should know that for yourself. You need to stop and look around. Get involved in your community. Get to know your neighbor and know what is happening in the news, in the government, in the schools. Know your rights and be aware of all the actions and inaction that surrounds you. Knowledge is what we need to have to ensure this never happens again not just memory.

Maybe the most important aspect of ensuring that the vicious cycle of history is not continued is to stop and think. Think for yourself rather than letting someone tell you what is true, what is right, what is wrong. If you stop and pay attention to the world you will see that there are many things happening that worrying in this world. Again, I am not going to tell you what to look for, you can probably surmise my views by simply going through previous posts.

However, I think there is one constant that should be embraced… Freedom. Are you living a life that embraces the freedoms that you have and is concerned over the freedoms that have been taken away? Is the ‘interpretation’ of freedom crippling your ability to be free? These are the basic questions that you should ask yourself and what you should do everything in your power to ensure that your freedom is not lost. So stop, think, appreciate what you have, and ensure that you are truly free.