Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Torch Of Remembrance

Historical Memory

“Jews survived all the defeats, expulsions, persecutions and pogroms, the centuries in which they were regarded as a pariah people, even the Holocaust itself, because they never gave up the faith that one day they would be free to live as Jews without fear.”
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
The Memorial Flame:
In A History of the Jews, Paul Johnson writes: “Certainly, the world without the Jews would have been a radically different place. Humanity might have eventually stumbled upon all the Jewish insights. But we cannot be sure. All the great conceptual discoveries of the human intellect seem obvious and inescapable once they had been revealed, but it requires a special genius to formulate them for the first time. The Jews had this gift. To them we owe the idea of equality before the law, both divine and human; of the sanctity of life and the dignity of human person; of the individual conscience and so a personal redemption; of collective conscience and so of social responsibility; of peace as an abstract ideal and love as the foundation of justice, and many other items which constitute the basic moral furniture of the human mind. Without Jews it might have been a much emptier place.”
Photo Credit: Perry J. Greenbaum, 2014. 

Here is the Memorial Flame lit up at the Holocaust Memorial at Toronto's Earl Bales Park, which my wife and I visited on Sunday. This metal structure, rising high, forms the focal point to the memorial of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, which also includes the Wall of Remembrance. The memorial flame was unveiled in 1991; and the wall 10 years later, in 2001.

We remember so as to not forget, a fitting idea and ideal central to the round of holidays and festivals that the Jewish People are currently observing.

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