What Have I Learned This Year About the Holocaust And What Does it Mean to Me

Haggadah Section: Commentary / Readings
The Haggadah tells us, "In every generation they rise against us and seek our destruction."  Remember and learn from the past
     To me, the Holocaust is much more than a tragic event in Jewish and world history.  To me, it was a wake up call. In the pre-Holocaust era, European Jewry was rapidly looking to assimilate. Jews were holding some of the most prestigious positions in society. Ranging from doctors to musicians to professors and even politicians, some Jews were so wrapped up in their social ranks that they did not even identify with their Judaism anymore.  It is said that the Jewish Germans were Germans first, then Jews.  They were more loyal to their country than their G-d.
     I think that the Holocaust was a wake up call to all of the Jews who forgot that G-d existed.  They forgot that they were put on this earth to serve a higher being, not society.
     The Jews of that time tried to run from their Judaism. By assimilating into German society they thought they could exempt themselves from their religious responsiblities.  Obviously they were wrong.  Hitler did not care whether a Jew was assimilated or not.  He saw them all as Jews.  As much as they tried to run away, they were still Jews and in danger of being exterminated.
     We must realize that we are different, we are G-d's chosen people.  This is a privilege not a chore.  If we are proud of our heritage and do not try to deny it we can overcome anything. We need unity to keep Judaism alive. 
     In my opinion the Holocaust could happen again.  There will always be hatred against Jews; we are the scapegoats for society.  When something goes wrong economically or politically we are blamed. If we remember and learn from the past, we can hope for a good future.  If we forget we are doomed.
Ilana Rosenberg Merlm, My daughter, written as a high school student

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