Sunday, May 1, 2011

It's Yom HaShoah - But Do We Really Care?

Today is Yom HaShoah. Or at least a whole bunch of people I'm friends with on Facebook told me so. I read the following status about 10 times today:

It's Yom HaShoah, the day we commemorate the 6 million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. Jews with names, families, and stories that were mercilessly cut short. But after all these years, the Nazis still did not fulfill their goal: we are still here, standing strong. Remember the horrors of the Holocaust. WE MUST NEVER FORGET. Please, take 6 seconds and make this your status, to honor the 6 million lost souls. (Some change "lost" to "holy" and yet others just cut off at "6 million", must've been a machlokes.)

Now, I'm not against what Yom HaShoah stands for, and I'm certainly not against honoring and remembering the victims of the Holocaust. However, does making those few sentences your status really honor the victims? Do you think the murdered families find peace and feel honored from that fact that you changed your Facebook status? The status even prides itself that the whole thing only takes 6 seconds. Wow! What an honor! It must take such dedication to spend a second of your time for each million Jews killed. (Not only that, it's not just a regular 6 seconds, it's 6 precious seconds taken away from using Facebook. Now that's dedication.) Who are we fooling? Of course if you were one of the disgusting people that didn't change your Facebook status, you must be a right-wing hater. It must be incumbent upon any self respecting Jew to immediately go change his or her Facebook status before it's too late.

The thing is that we fool only ourselves. We fool ourselves to think that we care - when we really don't want to admit to ourselves that it's difficult for us to relate. We should care and we want to care, but we can't because we are too busy with other important things. Other things like spending time on Facebook. We console ourselves with the fact that we are doing something (albeit nothing meaningful) by changing our Facebook status. "See," we tell ourselves, "I do care; and my Facebook status proves it."

Now many people reading this will be all mad by this point. You're probably screaming at me in your mind: "Speak for yourself. You're the one that doesn't care. You're the one who doesn't feel bad." You know what? You may be right. I have a very hard time caring and feeling bad about something from which I'm so distant; it happened so long ago and I have a hard time relating. We have grown numb over the past seventy five years. Almost everyone who lived to tell the story is dead by now. The ones still alive, are living in nursing homes. I've been to the holocaust museums, but frankly it felt like a movie. It all doesn't seem real. We are so distant from it.

But I will never try to convince my conscience that I am doing my part when I'm not. I will never try to convince myself that I care and feel bad when I have such a hard time trying to relate. Stop fooling yourself.

But you know what I do feel bad about? You know what I do care about? I feel bad about the fact that I'm too distant to feel the pain and I care about the fact that it's becoming lost to my generation. That's why I wrote this post, and trust me, it took more than 6 seconds.