Dedicated to our anti-zionist friends

Don’t be surprised when I tell you that in order to understand what anti-zionism really is, we have to travel back in time to 3500 years ago.

Specifically, we go back to the accursed meeting between Jacob and Esau, during which the latter had planned to kill his brother because he had “stolen” his father’s blessing, the act formally acknowledging the firstborn as the principal heir.

Esau was really born first, but in a moment of great hunger he had sold his birthright to his younger twin in exchange of a bowl of lentils. Regardless of this legal transaction, Esau wanted to vindicate his birthright and vowed revenge against his brother.

Back in 1100, Rashi the commentator explained that a war between the two sides was avoided by a mere miracle, but the stage was set: Esau and his descendants would hate Jacob and his progeny for eternity.

Joseph, Jacob’s son, traveled to Egypt and soon became the Pharaoh’s vizier. Regardless of his having saved Egypt from terrible famine and having replenished the royal finances through some strategic moves, his progeny was enslaved because it was considered a menace to the country’s internal order.

It was the year 1312 before our Common Era and a community that taught monotheism and that respected each individual’s life regardless of social status, could undermine Egypt’s stability from the ground up. The young Jewish males were trained and then used to make the bricks used to build the pyramids, while the men were subjected to grueling work.

The Jewish people would be extinct if God hadn’t freed them during the renown Exodus.

History continues with the Jewish people conquering the land of Israel and the several attempts of the world powers of the time, such as the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires as well as the Roman Empire, to beat and wipe out those people who were monotheists of unwavering faith, intellectuals and promulgators of universal rights.

The rights of women, slaves, foreigners and immigrants were considered dangerously destabilizing values for those societies based on the clear distinction between the privileged classes, on subservient classes and on the deprivation of all the rights of the people they conquered.

Let’s travel forward in time and get to the Inquisition. A thorn in the Jews’ side is that they know that it is possible to coexist in absolute respect for the different and with who prays to a different God. Yet, the Church of the time didn’t like diversity and the Jewish people’s values were the opposite to all that was necessary to retain its power over the people. The Church needed ignorant followers who could easily be trained to have unconditional, reverential respect towards the clergy.

The real danger of the Jewish people was that they could read and write, they taught the poorer classes how to study, and they treated their own slaves with respect. This modus operandi was a serious menace to the Church’s hegemony. Massive anti-Semitic propaganda was carried out: the Jews were accused of deicide, of spreading the plague, of lending money at rates of interest (that really happened considering that the Jews were forbidden by local political and religious authorities to carry out all professional activities). In religious sermons, the Jews were described as diabolical, deceitful and disloyal beings.

Let’s travel geographically this time, and move towards Russia, in the Ukraine to be exact.

The Jews were used by the czar’s regime as scapegoats against whom the people’s discontent was directed to. The Jewish people were too curious intellectually, too skilled commercially and stubbornly bound to a faith that didn’t let them lose their heart or identity, even in the darkest moments.

Then it was the turn of the nazis and the fascists, who found fertile ground in centuries old anti-semitic propaganda. The Jews represented a foreign body, an alternative thought, a refusal to comply. They were a group of people who always aimed for the top and were able to rise from the ashes and get back in the game. Without the Jews the world could become a cleaner, better place, they said. Nazism and Fascism drew on the ancestral accusations of deicide, usury and conspiracy to build the greatest racial campaign of all time.

On the Berlin walls there were no posters advertising cars or tomato sauces, but representations of hooked noses, sharp fingers holding the planet, satanic faces that lead the way towards Auschwitz, Bergen Belsen and Mauthausen for those people who were dangerously and persistently different.

After the second world war, mankind tried to set itself free from that irrational anti-semitic feeling that had caused the death of six million Jews.

The Jewish people were not seen as usurers anymore, they didn’t spread the plague and even the Church promoted them from evil beings to older brothers.

Now they are Israelis, they have their own Army, a place where they cannot be mass slaughtered and where nobody will force them to sew a yellow star on their jackets.

Nowadays they are not represented with hooked noses but with long shotguns.

They don’t greedily spread their fingers on the globe but on a tiny plot of land.

They don’t have satanic faces but they wear military helmets.

The Jewish people have shed their skin.

Now they are zionists.

Mankind tries to forget the hatred directed at the Jews but it’s almost impossible to eradicate an idea that’s been passed along from generation to generation.

Antisemitism, after centuries of brain washing, cannot simply vanish into thin air.

Just like an hibernating animal, it just took a break to then wake up more ferocious than ever.

Anti-Jewish hatred has been lying dormant, waiting to reappear in a new guise.

Being anti-Jew is not trendy, high tech is not reconcilable with those who hate regardless.

But if we call it anti-zionism, it’s a whole different story.

Not Judaean anymore, the Jews have become respectable.

Regardless of all conflicts and wars – 90.000 dead in Iraq and in Yemen, 70.000 dead in Afghanistan, 200.000 victims in Syria, Israelis have become a current issue. Basically they are nothing but a few million Jews who have miraculously survived the continuous extermination attempts, a group of  people who tries and hopes to give their children a better future.

The label “Israeli” indicates, once again, the fearsome Jews.

In one of his eight homilies written in 386 against the Jews, John Chrysostom said that “Nothing is more miserable than than those people who never failed to attack their own salvation.”

The early man hated what he was scared of and in some level even the modern man is primitive. Hatred against the Jews is an inferiority complex in disguise. Back in 1958, Herman Hesse said that “toward the very old and very intelligent Jewish people the less intelligent sections of another race feel competitive envy and a shaming inferiority, and the more blatantly this base feeling parades as superiority, the more surely fear and weakness are behind it.”

Call them Judaeans, infidels, Jews, the Jewish race, Israelis – the Torah has said that more than three thousand years ago.

Esau and his descendants will never cease to hate Jacob and his progeny.

Yet, it’s written that, despite of all this eternal hatred, us Jews will never cease to exist.

Am Israel Chay.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

Our life is a museum of illusions…

I have been to the museum of illusions in Vienna with my children. As we entered we saw pictures that appeared totally different according to the side you were looking from. Rooms painted with diagonal stripes made people appear as giants in one corner and as dwarfs in the opposite one.

Holograms, steady objects hit by an intermittent light that made them appear as they were in a perpetual movement.

We walked into a giant kaleidoscope and, though the footboard we were onwas not moving, we felt like fluctuating in the air.

I have never experienced illusions from so close.

I have never experienced something that actually does not exist.

When we left the museum I started looking around. Cars, shops, people who ran in the streets. Were they real? What if everything around me was different from it seemed to be?

What if our material desires were only a deceiving need created by our materialistic soul? What if our daily run, which we are convinced is so necessary for us, goes in the opposite direction of our true goal?

Maybe G-d is challenging us hoping that soon or late we open our eyes and we realize that our life should be very different from what society is telling us? What if one day we just open our eyes and we realize that the aim we were created for is so different from what we have always believed?

There is a chassidic story about a poor man who travels in the world in search of richness. He happens to arrive on an island where diamonds are scattered everywhere while the most precious thing is onions. You earn in onions, you pay in onions, your wealth is calculated in onions. Days go by and he slowly forgets about the real world and the fact that if he simply picked up some diamonds from the floor, he could become very rich. On the island he becomes a very wealthy persons. After ten years he goes back home with a carriage full of onions. Look what I brought you! He says to his astonished wife. You’ve been away for home for ten years and this is all you could earn? She asks desperately. Onions?

In our life everything depends on the perspective we use to look at things. Reality changes according to the lenses we wear. One day we will realize that we have lived all our life as in a long dream. A dream made of wishes that do not belong to us, needs that are not ours, material things that should guarantee us happiness and joy but as we buy them, nothing changes inside ourselves.

And G-d hides Himself behind the illusion of this world and waits patiently that we open the curtain, we move the veil and we discover our spirituality and our real aim.

Gheula Canarutto nemni

Letter of a baby killed by the silence of the world

Bye Mum,

Shalom Dad,

I have seen you only for a few instants but my time has arrived.

I love you so much, I cannot believe I will never see you again.

I was  ready to come to the world in two months, I was already imagining how I would taste my mother’s milk, I was wondering how it feels to open your eyes and find out what is around.

But none of these things will never happen in my life.

I felt the shootings going through the womb, I heard the screams of fear and terror through the amniotic liquid and I understood that something was wrong.

My hearbeat that until that moment was beating at a perfect rythm, started slowing down.

I am not able to explain why everything happened, why a man, whom I have never seen before, wanted to shoot my mum and me.

I heard people saying that all this happened because we were waiting for the bus on a disputed piece of land, that the cause that moves these murderous hands lies in the land itself.

Eighty years ago when this land was only sand, babies, infants and children who did not have time to learn how to talk and walk, were brought to the slaughter house with the same charge: Jude.

Bye grandma and grandpa,

it was an honor to be part of a family that teaches to love while our enemies go on inciting to kill.

Though I was born on the seventh month of pregnancy, though I could breath only for a few days, I can affirm with no doubts that the content of Universal Declaration of Human Rights about the right for life, freedom and safety, is not universally true.

It is not true that every child has the right to a home, a mother and father.

It’s a lie. The world does not try hard to protect every child from cruelty as the U.N Declaration on Youth Rights states.

People who were raised in hate and intolerance made me leave this world with a name, Amiad Yisrael, a name that was never called but only engraved on my gravestone.

The book of my life was closed by democratic societies and mass media that consider the death of a Jew on his land less worthy of the death of other men.

 

My dear love,

let me kiss for the last time the shroud that wraps your tiny life.

Let me say goodbye to your tiny hand and foot, to you heart that bumped inside my body for the last seven months.

Ask in Heaven why all this is happening to us. And please don’t move until you don’t get an answer.

You have been a child for a few instants before the hate of men transformed you in an angel.

Send me a kiss, my little love, a big kiss like that one I would have asked you in a few months if the incitement to violence, if the education to death, did not tear your soul away from me and from this world.

Gheula Canarutto NemniSchermata 2018-12-13 alle 12.39.29

October 1943. When the Holocaust arrived to the Ghetto of Rome

IMG_2806

October 16th 1943

It was shabbat and the third day of sukkot.

The adults woke up in the middle of night at the noise of shotguns and shouts. The children ran into their parents bed. When everything became silent again, they finally  fell asleep.

In the courtyard of the synagogue the sukkah was waiting for the Jews of Rome to enter and pronounce a blessing.

The prayer shawls were bent the previous day and were waiting to be worn again.

The perfume of the cedar and of the myrtle wafted in the air of the dark synagogue.

It was October 16th, 1943

It was supposed to be another festival day.

Men, women and children were ready to wear their best outfits and walk in the ghetto streets wishing one to the other ‘shabbat shalom e chag sameach’.

The tables were still to be set with the little amount of food that you could buy  with the food ration cards.

A few days before that day, the Nazis had summoned up the chiefs of the Jewish community and threatened them to deport 200 Jews if they did not bring 50 kilos, 100 pounds, of pure gold, in thirty six hours.

The Jews of Rome showered in the office of the Jewish community and offered wedding rings, earrings received for the anniversary, necklaces belonged to the grandmother, until the amount of gold was reached. The gold was collected and brought to the SS col. Herbert Kappler. The Jews of the Ghetto thought this was the price they had to pay to survive the war.

But after a few days, the regular noises of via Portico d’Ottavia, via S. Ambrogio and via del Pianto, were interrupted by the strong noise of the trucks engines and motorbikes, of the soldier boots and of the barking dogs.

Orders shouted in German replaced the joyous festival songs, human beings were thrown into trucks as they were mere objects, mothers and fathers cried feeling on their own skin the imminent detachment from their children, babies were thrown into strangers arms with the hope to save them from deportation and death.

The square was full of people whose dreams, projects, thoughts, were so similar to those of their fellow citizens.

The Jews of Rome had woke up until the previous day, to go and work and earn their livelihood  as millions of other Italians.

But that day they have been reminded of their difference. They have been loaded on trucks and sealed trains which destination is written in giant characters: Auschwitz, a name they have never heard before. Their guilt is irreparable. They are the offspring of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

October 16th, 2018.

When you walk in the streets of the ghetto, if you turn down your eyes on the street, you can read the name, the date of birth and death, of the Italian Jews whose life was interrupted by a murderous hate.

In those same streets where trucks loaded Jews, you can see children coming out from the Jewish school and  walking with their kippah, their yarmulke, on their heads, while hundreds of tourists are eating in the kosher restaurants.

In the Tempio Centrale, the main synagogue, you can hear the same sounds that have been heard with almost no interruption for the last two thousand years.

Our brothers, who were deported and who never came back,

We will catch your prayers where they were interrupted,

We will open your prayer shawls that you have never opened again,

We will say the kiddush that you couldn’t recite anymore,

We will celebrate the festivals, pesach, Shavuot, that you could not share with your beloved and we will finish that sukkot that you were suddenly deprived from.

They have tried to annihilate our bodies in endless ways.

But our spirit, our soul, our attachment to G-d, are indestructible and above all.

Am Israel Chai.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

Why Condé Nast and Vogue do not respect Jews

An open letter to Robert A. Sauerberg, president and CEO of Condé Nast.

On October 4, 2018, Vogue Arabia published a letter by Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager who is becoming an icon, despite the culture she represents.

My name is Raya Schijveschuurder. Today I would be 31 years old.

I would be probably married and I would have my own children.

They would be the same age of my little brothers who were 2 and 4 years old when they were killed together with my parents and me, inside a pizza store in Jerusalem, seventeen years ago.

We were a happy family until 2 pm of August 9th 2001. We were eight children, four girls and four boys, the perfect balance. My parents were still young, 43 and 41 years old.

But that day we were hungry.

And we wished for a pizza and some Coke.

And my parents decided to take us to Sbarro, one of the most famous pizza stores of Jerusalem.

I chose a pizza with mushroom and olives topping.

And my mother asked me: are you sure you will like it?

These were the last words I heard from her.

A few minutes Ahlam Tamimi brought Izzadin al Masri until the entrance of Sbarro.

Tamimi knew perfectly the store would be packed at that hour. She had been studying that place for a long time.

Al Masri had a guitar with him, but from that guitar no music note would have been played.

As he entered the store that guitar played a death music, throwing 20 pounds of nails, screws and explosives in men, women and children bodies.

We have just washed our hands as Jews use to do before eating the bread.

But I never ate that pizza.

I was blown up and killed by nails that pierced my heart, my liver, my vital organs.

In a few seconds my parents, my brothers, Shoshana Greenbaum, a pregnant woman, other ten people and me, were transformed in shreds of meat.

My grandparents were Dutch.

During the war they were deported from Holland to concentration camps.

They survived to all their families and tried to build a normal life in that same country that offered them death.

They pushed their children to go and live in Israel, the only place in the world where Jews would never be discriminated for their religion.

My parents tried to build a new life in that tiny country.

But Ahlam Tamimi decided that even there Jews do not have the right to live.

When they announced in the radio there had been a martyrdom attack at the Sbarro restaurant and that three people were killed, I admit I was a little bit disappointed because I had hoped for a larger toll’, she tells in an interview.

‘Have you ever thought about the families, the children, who were victims of this attack?’ Tamimi smiles ‘No’.

Ahed Tamimi, the seventeen years old teenager who became the symbol of ‘Palestinian resistance’ was brought up in these values. Ahlam Tamimi is her aunt. Her family was defined by international media as an ‘activist family’

Vogue Arabia, a magazine that belongs to Conde Nast group, has just published Ahed Tamimi letter.

In this letter Tamimi writes: I wanted to become a football player but I don’t play here because there is no time. Instead, I have been involved in demonstrations and confrontations with the Israeli army since I was a child.

 

I went on Conde Nast code of Ethics, where you can find the following words:

Reaching more than 270 million consumers across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, we are committed to delivering beautiful, influential content and brand experiences for individuals who demand to be inspired.

And I asked myself:

Does Conde Nast think Ahed Tamimi words should inspire  its readers?

Does Conde Nast agree that children, instead of becoming football players, should be raised in the dream to become martyrs one day?

“I hope that everyone will take part in the demonstrations as this is the only means to achieve the result. Whether it is stabbings or martyrdom operations or throwing stones, everyone must do his part and we must unite in order for our message to be heard that we want to liberate Palestine”

These are the words that Tamimi says on Facebook to her followers. 

We pride ourselves in respecting the individual no matter what gender, race, religion or orientation. We are committed to doing business in an ethical way, with honesty, integrity and humanity.

This is the message you can find on Conde Nast website.

Dear Conde Nast, mr. Robert A. Sauerberg,

you have proved to be committed to doing business.

But with this article that celebrates a teenager who was raised in death and martyrdom values, a girl whose aunt helped killing more than 15 human beings guilty of being Jews, you have not only lost many Jewish readers..

You have lost your commitment to integrity and humanity.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

Excuse me, but I am Jew

Excuse me, but I am a Jew.
This is why a few seconds ago you could see me concentrating and praying with the deepest intentions. And now I am dancing and singing with all my passion.
You can catch me while I am begging G-d and tears are flowing on my face. And in the same time I am shouting joyous words.
I beg you pardon, but I was planned to be an unstable creature.
For 48 hours I blow a horn which sound is similar to the cry of a son, I fast for 25 hours to get all my past mistakes erased and when I arrive to the maximum level of spirituality, when a new page is offered to my life, instead of keeping calm and thoughtful, I inject myself overdoses of joy.
What can I do? I was programmed in this way.
Go and complain with my Creator if you don’t like me as I am.
If you wish to have me more aligned, more balanced and controlled.
If you were looking for a nation that is always constant and the same during time, you arrived to the wrong address.
We Jews are like the moon. Every day we are different than the previous one.
We hope you will excuse us, but we are Jews.
And you can never see us stopping at a certain point or 100% satisfied of what we have reached.
You can never catch us with the ‘arrival’ sign in our hand, because for us every finishing line is a new starting point.
We beg your pardon but we are unable to stop.
And when G-d commands us to be happy, though He knows that happiness is a feeling and feelings are quite impossible to impose on someone, when He asks ‘let the joy enter in your hearts’ a few hours away from our Yom Kippur cries, we do our best to shift our state of mind according to His will.
Excusing us once again for our eclecticism, we beg your pardon already for the coming days, during which we will put aside our reason and logic, pilpul and discussion on the Torah.
We will be very busy celebrating the simple and above every logic fact, that we have been chosen to be part of this nation.
A nation that has never stopped during the last three thousand years,
moving from tears to smiles, from the deepest faith to the greatest discussion, at a dance pace.
Chag sameach!
Gheula Canarutto Nemni
img_2542

We are dwarfs on the shoulders of giants…

I’ve repeated many times in my life

Who am I to do this?

This message  is definitely not for me…

I’ve repeated these sentences many times in my life.

Until I’ve been invited as a speaker to Jli, the Jewish National Retreat.

And there 1200 people, from different cultural, religious and geographical backgrounds, made me change my mind.

I found Jews thirsty for their history, for their identity, for the next steps to undertake.

Jews who woke up so early every morning, in the few days they had of vacation. Every minute was an opportunity to absorb messages, values, lessons from a religion in which they are born but of which no one wanted to teach them anything about.

Jews eager to fill a void in their soul, to recover from years lived in a too similar way to the outer world.

Jews who wished to be Jewish again.

I was called to be a speaker, but I became a full time listener.

I heard so many stories about people whose parents were Holocaust survivor, I never imagined there were so many still.

I listened to their wish to get out from the safety bubble their parents tried to protect them in.

I sat beside people who grew up without Shabat, without a mezuzah on their door. And without Abraham’s, Isaac’s or Jacob’s G-d.

Jews who found out they belong to a chosen and persecuted nation a few minutes before their parents passed away.

And instead of running away from this uncomfortable identity, they jumped into it with all their mights.

I spent six days with these people and I understood that they were not simple people. But heroes.

A hero is not only a person who jumps into the water to save a drowning fellow.

A hero is a person who dares again and again, leaving its comfort zone, its habits, its safe areas and dares to face the unknown.

The word hero comes from Greek and it means ‘a person who is admired for its courage and outstanding achievments’.

The most outstanding achievement a human being can reach is to try and free himself from his habits, from his usual way and go further.

The couarge does not belong only to those who defeat their enemies.

The courage belongs to those who get up in the morning and challenge their status quo and their own certainties through new thoughts, words and actions,

It’s easy to walk in a path where you’ve already walked in before.

It is much harder to undertake a new path in an unknown place, that has never belonged to us.

Our sages say that moshiach will come in our times beacuse we are dwarfs on the shoulders of our ancentors, who were giants,

But maybe moshiach will come in our days also because now more than ever before, our nation is being enriched by baalei tshuva, Jews who are leaving the void of their souls and coming back home.

In the place where a Baal Teshuva, a returnee to Judaism, stands, a completely righteous person cannot stand.

A giant is not a person who was born tall. A giant is a person who tries to surpass every day the level of the prevoious day.

Thank you to all my new Jli teachers.

And a special thank you to all the amazing staff of Jli who worked so hard for making that miracolous week come true.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

A call for the survival of the Jewish nation

Dear friends of the Left Wing,

Dear friends of the Right Wing,

What you are going to read is a call for survival.

Survival of a nation that was able to live up to day thanks to unending miracles. While today that same nation is at risk of implosion.

Our nation is famous for its different thoughts and approaches.

Mental maps so different, one from the other, that they helped us grow up.

The four sons of the Hagada have their own ways to interpret history; the 12 tribes each had its special way of serving G-d.

The Jewish nation nurtured itself on the diversity of opinions, of the different waves of thought.

Discussion, divergency of points of views is one of the holding columns that preserved our nation’s life.

One directional thoughts are not part of our Jewish DNA.

The prophets fearlessly opposed themselves to kings, Moses discussed with G-d.

The Talmud is but the result of unending discussions and dissertations.

However, during the last few months, a part of this equilibrium broke. Discussions are not simple exchanges anymore, but poisoned arrows. Different opinions have become like stones that contribute to the building of walls to separate people who see the world in different ways.

To save with words migrants, we are destroying our nation.

By deciding Israeli policy sitting around a coffee table and tapping on Facebook, we are dividing Jews into bad and good.

To comment on the policy of an American president, we throw away 3300 years of survival.

Something is wrong here.

G-d didn’t make us survive until today to be like this.

He doesn’t want to see his nation nation falling out due to unuseful discussions that move only the keyboard keys and nothing more.

We didn’t survive until now to slay each other on social media and divide people into Right and Left, like they were road signs.

We are sinking our boat with our own hands, the same boat that miraculously resisted the worst storms.

If we Jews are still here today it’s because G-d knows we can contribute an added value.

He trusts that we won’t get lost in the waves of unuseful words directed at a policy that someone else is already deciding.

We are here to do, to help advance, to add more light and values.

We are here to unite people under the umbrella of universal rights, rights that we taught the world.

We are here to say what others are not brave enough to pronounce.

The Jewish soul, of every single Jew on earth, receives its vitality from the deepest level of G-d.

Two of us have three opinions, but what really counts is our essence. That is the same, undifferentiated, indistinct, soul. An essence that does not look leftwards or rightwards but only upwards, towards its Creator.

Our sanctuary was destroyed because Jews, instead of being one against their enemy, got divided internally.

And they didn’t realise that in this way, when everyone sits around his/her own table and refuses to hear what the other one is saying, when we shout on Facebook and Twitter, on mass media, we are playing into the favour of our enemies, helping them in their strategy of our destruction.

And our enemy just needs to sit there and watch and wait.

Hillel and Shamai wore different lenses through which they saw the world. One had lenses of pity, the other of rigor.

Each of them interpreted law in his own way. If they lived today there would be shirts with ‘I am with Hillel’ and ‘only Shamai is right’.

There would be meetings, public demonstrations, provocations. In their period diversity was an opportunity for growth. Today, we would not be same nation without their discussions, which G-d Himself as referee.

Who, at a certain point said: this and this are my living words.

What you read is an invitation.

To stay together, and to discuss in a respectful and civil way.

We are surrounded on the right and on the left by enemies. Let’s not break into factions of right and left.

We are truly a small number of people, yet of we stay together we become many tiny surviving miracles.

Only together can the weak light of one become the brightest.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni

Please do not celebrate the Holocaust Remembrance Day

We cannot define ourselves as the people of remeberance.

We are not a nation that stops and cries  in front of historical artifacts kept in a display case.

We are not the nation of museums, people who catch each other saying ‘once upon a time’…

The concept of memory in and of itself does not belong to us.

Memories that allow you to get up as the same person as the previous day are not part of our DNA.

We don’t love commemorations and cliches, we don’t scatter ashes or keep mourning for longer than the law requires.

Our calendar has special dates to remember the destroyed sanctuary of Jerusalem. Our year has special days dedicated for when we cry over the lost golden period of our history.

At the beginning of that day, we sit down on the floor, we say sad prayers, we tell stories about destruction and death. But in the afternoon we get up, we dry our eyes and we ask G-d to build something new on our tears. We ask Him to transform all the past heaps of rubble into a foundation superior to the old one.

In Hebrew, a cemetery is called a ‘house of life’. It is a place where people who left this world rest in peace. But it is even a place of warning, of reflection, where those who are alive recall the real goal they were created for and their moral duty to use, in a positive way, every minute of life they were granted.

Jewish memory is never only a simple memory for its own sake.

Jewish memory is a path that takes one on a journey to a better self.

During Passover, when we tell the miracolous escape from Egypt, we eat matzah to remember how hastily Jews ran away from their enslavement. We dip bitter herbs to recall the bitter taste of being subjugated to somebody else. But at the end we celebrate freedom, our ability to keep our values, traditions and thoughts free from any external influence.

Celebration focuses on the past, it helps to treasure and transmit its stories and lessons. But celebration means to become stronger, more aware, thanks to those mistakes, to those succeses and  those pains, that belong to the past.

Memory helps us walk the paths of tomorrow in a better way.

There is no instant of our life that cannot become a springboard. Even the most painful events can become the first of the next steps.

As runners on a historical course, we study the past match so we can be better runners in the next game.

The word zecher, memory, shares the same root with rakaz, to concentrate.

We remember our life and we concentrate on the past days so we are able to live our future in a better way.

When we commemorate our dead, we don’t only stop in front of their pictures and cry. We gather people to study, we offer food and drink in their memory,  trying to give continuity to those things death has stopped.

So…

If today you are heading to a Holocaust memorial, if you are going to listen to a survivor’s personal story, if you are opening the pages of Anne Frank’s diary, if you are crying for our dead, please do all these things in our way.

Listen and learn, read and reflect, process a personal change.

In Jewish history past tense always runs with present.

Past is suspended until the next breath.

Memory is when children finish what their fathers left incomplete.

Memory is the next generation that brings life again where is there is destructiion and death.

Memory for Jews is transforming a sigh into a better future day.

Gheula Canarutto Nemni