The horror of those who suffered through the Shoah can best be described by those who lived through it. The Holocaust has been chronicled in various media, including movies and plays that try to simulate reality, but it is actually seeing and hearing the survivors’ tales that makes the largest impact on the listener. The article “Contemplating a future without survivors” (April 19) concludes that the best way to honour those who will no longer be able to share their eyewitness account, would be by “introducing a new ritual establishing an interactive and educational seder to be observed on Yom Hashoah.”
In Toronto, Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am Synagogue initiated just such an event starting in 2003 called Megillat Hashoah – the Scroll of the Holocaust – a liturgical Megillah that is meant to be a unifying structure for the holiday and enable Jewish communities to observe Yom Hashoah in a more spiritual way. Alex Eisen, a Holocaust survivor and member of Beth David, pioneered the Megillat Hashoah, along with Rabbi Philip Scheim, and both men should be commended for their efforts to keep the memories alive.
Sheryl P. Lipton
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Anti-Israel activists at Ben-Gurion (1)
Kudos to the Israeli governmental office that wrote the succinct and beautifully worded letter to those who descended on Israel to protest Israeli government policies in its conflict with the Palestinians (“Anti-Israel activists land at Ben-Gurion,” April 19). I have waited a long time for Israel to not only speak up for itself, but also to snub its nose at those who blindly condemn just about everything Israel does and yet support heinous crimes of terrorism. So glad to see they sent back some of it. Hope to see more of it!
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Anti-Israel activists at Ben-Gurion (2)
I am more than a little dismayed that you would label the letter handed to the anti-Israel activists as “sarcastic” (“Anti-Israel activists land at Ben-Gurion,” April 19). Perhaps a better adjective would be “informative.” I think instead of sending the activists back to their countries of origin, the better idea would have been to let them in, transport them to southern Israel, and have them dodge the rockets fired by Hamas in Gaza. Maybe then they would have a greater appreciation of Israel. I wonder who financed their trip and what their itinerary was? They wouldn’t go to Syria, Iran or even Gaza, as they might be killed or jailed. Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East, was safe.
Paul S. Levin
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Anti-Israel activists at Ben-Gurion (3)
I refer to the article “Anti-Israel activists land at Ben-Gurion” (April 19), and the Israeli government response as defined by its letter to the activists. First, it does not behoove any government to use sarcasm, for as Oscar Wilde noted, sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. To say that because Israel is a democracy it should be exempt from criticism is ridiculous. If Israel was really secure in its policies and its democracy, the actions of 43 activists would not count for much. No one questions the brutality of the current regimes in Syria and Iran or suggests they are democratic, but that does not and should not excuse Israel from scrutiny in respect to its own policies.
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Looking for Krakow visitors
This year, Krakow, Poland, hosts its 22nd annual Yiddish Festival, starting on June 29 with a cantorial concert and ending on July 8 with a klezmer concert in the Jewish Kazimierz section of the city. My wife and I will be arriving in Warsaw on June 25 for a two- to three-day stay, then will visit the Lublin area and then head to Krakow for the festival. We are looking to meet fellow Canadians who will be there as well, to perhaps co-ordinate tours in the region to other Jewish places of interest. We have been to Poland twice before and have visited almost every major Polish city and more than 50 shtetls. I can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 450-687-0632.
Chomedey, Laval, Que.