December 17,2010

Remembering the Forgotten

Posted by Haggadot

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Coming a little more than a week after we finish celebrating Hanukkah, the 10th day of the Hebrew month of Tevet (Friday, December 17th) is observed by some as a minor fast day. Biblically, the fast commemorates the siege of Jerusalem in the year 587 BCE, which eventually led to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the Babylonian exile. But beginning in the mid-twentieth century, this day has come to take on an additional significance that appeals even further to the Jewish soul and is universally relatable--the theme of remembrance. The American Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as well as similar tombs in countries around the world, reflects the concept that though we may not be able to identify soldiers’ remains, they should still be remembered. This was not the reality that Walt Whitman observed: “"the Bravest Soldier crumbles in mother earth, unburied and unknown." Similar to the efforts of the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, comes the modern spin on the 10th of Tevet. It has become Yom Hakkadish Haklali, a day dedicated to mourning and remembering the lives of people whose exact date of death is unknown to us. Jews around the world commemorate this day by remembering those who perished in the Holocaust. I do not have any close family to remember on this day. Still, the entire Jewish people is my family, and I stand with my Jewish brothers and sisters on the 10th of Tevet to remember. Even though many people today do not fast, it is still important to take time out to think about the significance of the day and to remember. For more information on 10th of Tevet and how others observe: Modern day fasts? Exploring the juxtaposition between Jerusalem’s historical role as a city and contemporary reality. Western Wall and the fast day Should we observe 10th of Tevet today? Fasting on a Friday?