We observed Yom Hashoah, a Holocaust memorial, last week. A year ago at this time when I was in language school our instructors led us on a short walk from the classrooms to a major intersection near the Mamilla Hotel. We stood at the corner until sirens blew in memory of those Jews killed in concentration camps during World War II. Sirens sounded for about a minute. Traffic, talking, walking…everything stopped. Pedestrians stood at attention. Kids lowered their smart phones.
Drivers stopped on the street and stood at attention beside their cars.
As moving as that was, the experience this year was even more intense. Without expecting much to be different, Marcia and I stepped onto our patio this year as the sirens began to wail. Across the street a gray-haired woman rose from a bench seat and stood with hand over heart. A cab driver pulled to the curb and stood at attention beside his car. Up the street, a bus stopped. The only sound came from sirens. It was the same scene we’d witnessed a year earlier and yet entirely different. It was beyond weighty or impressive; it hurt.
Why? The answer seemed to come days later. [Read more…]