People in Poland are eating apples these days. Lots of apples. Here in Warsaw, they're pressed into your hands at a street festival, or baked into piles of pies and cakes. You see them everywhere. It's an act of defiance.
Now as then, atrocities occur all around us; now, as then, they're not real until they happen to be reported. Initially, we're upset, but it takes too much time and energy to sustain that -- we begin to tune out.
The Holocaust was brought about by the opposite of hesed, by malice and treatment of human beings with clinical cruelty for the purpose of demeaning, debasing and destroying. How do we face such a legacy?
Many believe the Nazis attacked that night to send a message that Passover, the Day of Liberation, should be transformed into a Day of Destruction. The fighters, led by Mordechai Anielewicz, stunned the Germans, killing and wounding German soldiers.
President Barack Obama and Israeli President Shimon Peres are expected to attend the opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. The presence of such dignitaries attests to the tremendous significance that this endeavor holds for Jews worldwide as well as Poles.
During the Passover Seder many have the tradition to rise from the table and open the door for the Prophet Elijah to come. This year's celebration brings with it an extra reminder of how much we should not take for granted the blessing of being able to open our door in hope and not fear.
Imagine if anyone with the Internet had been able to follow the massacre of the civilians in the Warsaw Ghetto. Imagine if the world had seen all that 69 years ago: the scenes we've been witnessing every day from Homs.
After a lifetime of not thinking about it much, I suddenly stumbled into Holocaust memories, and now they are tangled around me. They are not my memories, but their meaning is part of my life. It has to be.
Recently, I had to choose between two screenings, both happening at the same time. One was Lottery Ticket, a comedy starring Bow Wow. The other was A Film Unfinished, a Holocaust-themed documentary. That seems like a no-brainer, right?
Just when you think historians have unearthed as many images as can be mined illustrating what happened to the Jews during WWII, a new can of film emerges and becomes a catalyst for a re-reading of a vintage Nazi film.