Tuesday, April 18, 2023

A Day of Remembrance


I save things. I take a screenshot and I tell myself, “I’m going to write about this.” Sometimes that works. Sometimes the moment slips away. This time I caught it as it almost got away.


Last night at sunset marked the beginning of Yom Hashoah  , Holocaust Remembrance Day. In Howard County it was observed with a service at Temple Isaiah in Fulton. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising.

County Executive Calvin Ball marked the occasion with a statement on his social media accounts.

Yom Hashoah is a somber time for us to remember and honor the six million Jews and millions of others who lost their lives at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which marks the largest single revolt by the Jewish People during World War II. 

Today, we honor the memory, the bravery, and the heroism encompassed by our ancestors who fought for their rights. As time continues to put distance between the past and the present, it’s especially important that we remember the terrible mistakes of the past to ensure they are never again repeated. Every person of every faith and background is welcomed and valued in Howard County because we know that our diversity is our biggest strength.

As I read his words something jogged my memory. What was it? 

Oh. This:

Last night, hundreds of our Howard County community members from across local Jewish congregations and houses of worship of other faiths came out to hear from Secure Community Network about situational awareness and how to respond if there is an active attack occurring where you are. Thank you so much for the Oakland Mills Interfaith Center and Baltimore Jewish Council for cosponsoring this event with us to help keep our community safe. If you couldn't make it last night, there will be another presentation tonight at the Jewish Community Center (JCC Park Heights) at 6:30. - -  Jewish Federation of Howard County Facebook Page, March 20th

Images from Jewish Federation of Howard County Facebook Page

The event was written up in the Jewish Times.

Though Jews make up only slightly more than 2% of the U.S. population, nearly 60% of all religiously motivated hate crimes in the U.S. target the Jewish community,” Viegas said. “Jews face an extreme threat, but not an exclusive one. We know that the security measures that safeguard our community can also benefit others. Like the training tonight, we shared information about security with other faith-based organizations. Everyone should be afforded to live a life of faith. - - Stephanie Viegas, former FBI agent and current representative of Secure Community Network

Nearly sixty percent of all religiously motivated hate crimes in the U.S. target the Jewish community.

Google search of the words “attacks against Jewish communities in US”

What an incredible burden to live with. A past marred by genocide. A present fraught with danger. That is why the following post from the Community Ecology Institute stood out as I scrolled Facebook yesterday.

Thank you to the Jewish Federation of Howard County for spending part of their Good Deeds Day with us at Freetown Farm! Good Deeds Day is a global movement of people who are dedicated to doing good. How beautiful to think that millions of people around the world were collectively doing good in their communities today! Our team of families helped us plant native trees and bushes and remove plants that were taking over some of our garden areas. We teamed up to help in the @hopeworksofhc at the farm too! @jewishfedhoco #teamwork #gooddeedsday #gooddeeds

Image from Community Ecology Institute Facebook page

Here are some other projects that members of local Jewish communities were working on for Good Deeds Day:

Good Deeds Day is an international movement which began in Israel. With presentations about how to better survive anti-Jewish attacks on the one hand and the remembrance of the atrocities of the Holocaust on the other, many of our Columbia/HoCo Jewish friends and neighbors stopped everything on April 16th and gave of themselves to service and sharing.

It is all three of these things together that made this important for me to write about. Imagine holding all three things in your hands. It seems to me that this speaks to the Jewish experience in a way non-Jews probably can’t truly grasp, although we can try. 

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