Saturday, August 26, 2006
Growing up as a Reform Jew meant a lot of holocaust education. A lot. I felt, somehow, that the holocaust was the epitome of the Jewish experience. Everything was holocaust awareness. Never Again! Six million! Gas chambers! Nazis! Yellow stars! It got to the point where it made me mad.
Mad because there was never anything else - we were clinging frantically to our genocide, but not renewing ourselves. I'm not saying I don't mourn the holocaust. I grieve for the millions lost, and the future that perished with them. But I hate how it defined my youth, defined my Judaism. It made me turn away from anything holocaust-related.
The other day, in the mail, I got a fundraising package from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Inside were notecards. Notecards? How macabre can you get? Needless to say, it provoked the same response I've always had. But I shuffled through them anyway.
And then I saw him. The little boy pasted on a cheery, red heart. The back of the card said it was a mother's day greeting. To his mother, he wrote, "My wish can be written in a few words, G-d bless you with both of his hands." Then I started to cry. I cried for that little Jew who felt G-d so tangibly, whose earnest wish was for G-d to bless his mother.
With both hands.