Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.
Today, April 21st, we in Israel are commemorating the Holocaust in what we call Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). It is, of course, no coincidence that this day occurs one week after the Passover, because just as the Israelites were set free from their Egyptian oppressors in Exodus—so too were the Jewish people set free from Nazi concentration camps 75 years ago this April.
Eyewitness accounts of the liberation describe an appalling scene. The emaciated bodies of the survivors resembled those of the walking dead. Many of the Holocaust survivors we know today were imprisoned for as long as 5 years in those camps, facing inhuman conditions. It is these same people who today bear most of the risk of a new, but equally real threat—COVID-19.
Holocaust survivors have led difficult lives, and the idea that they would survive these hardships—only to be forgotten in their advancing age—is too much for us to bear. These dear people are especially vulnerable to the new pandemic because of their age, and in many cases, pre-existing conditions. They desperately need our help.
So today, as we acknowledge and honour the incredible strength that these dear individuals have shown throughout their lives, please join us in providing care packages in remembrance of—not only the ones who survived—but those we lost as well.
We won’t have these precious people for much longer. Their wisdom, their strength, and their courage are so relevant to us today. While Holocaust survivors are still here, let’s show them the appreciation, love, and respect that we know we should—and also as a firm declaration against the evil remnants of Nazism that still exist to this day.