Friday, December 18, 2015

Exclusive! Yad veShem Department Planned to Take Staff to Restaurant on a Fast Day

ערב שבת קודש פר׳ ויגש תשע״ו

About Yad Vashem

"And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name (a "yad vashem")... that shall not be cut off."

(Isaiah, chapter 56, verse 5)
As the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust, Yad Vashem safeguards the memory of the past and imparts its meaning for future generations. Established in 1953, as the world center for documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem is today a dynamic and vital place of intergenerational and international encounter.

For over half a century, Yad Vashem has been committed to four pillars of remembrance:
  • Commemoration
  • Documentation
  • Research
  • Education
Esser Agaroth (2¢):
An anonymous source tipped me off this morning to a planned trip for some of the employees at Yad veShem, Israel's Holocaust memorial and museum.

The trip was planned for the staff at the archives department (and others?) Lunch at a restaurant was to follow an extensive tour of Israel's Channel 2 television station.

It was to take place this coming Tuesday, Asereth b'Teveth, the 10th of the Hebrew month of Teveth, the "Fast of the Fourth Month" (Zech. 8:19).

In all fairness to the planners of the event, it was changed after having the problem of planning such an event on this date was called to their attention.

But, I must ask why a "Jewish" organization would plan something like this on a fast day in the first place? And even more so, on a date significant to even many secular survivors of the Holocaust and the child of those who perished?
The Chief Rabbinate of Israel chose to observe the Tenth of Tevet as a "general kaddish day" (yom hakaddish ha'klalli) to allow the relatives of victims of the Holocaust, and whose yahrtzeits (anniversaries of their deaths) is unknown, to observe the traditional yahrtzeit practices for the deceased, including lighting a memorial candle, learning mishnayoth and reciting the kaddish. According to the policy of the Chief Rabbinate in Israel, the memorial prayer is also recited in synagogues, after the reading of the Torah at the morning services. To some religious Jews, this day is preferable as a remembrance day to Yom HaShoah (28 Nissan), since the latter occurs in the month of Nissan, in which mourning is traditionally prohibited.
Meanwhile, Yad veShem itself has planned a full day of more appropriate activities for this day.

Is this just a simple matter of the right hand not talking to the left? Does Yad veShem need to do heshbon nefesh (personal inventory) on the inside before criticizing anyone else on the outside? Or is this just another example of a State which is Jewish on the outside, but just bacon on the inside?

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