This article is off topic for elder law but I feel compelled to put my thoughts in writing. I hope, regardless of your politics or religion, it makes you think, and maybe act.
A Day of Reflection
On April 12, 2018 Many people in the United States observe Yom Hashoah, which is also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day. It commemorates the lives and heroism of Jewish people who died in the Holocaust between 1933 and 1945. It also celebrates those, Jewish and Non-Jewish alike, who courageously fought the Nazis to protect the innocent people being slaughtered. I do want to point out that in addition to the 6,000,000 Jews killed by the Nazis, 5,000,000 other people were exterminated because they did not fit the mold of HitIer*s Aryan race. For perspective, Europe was home to 9,000,000 Jews prior to WWII. The Nazis exterminated 2/3 of Europe*s Jews and approximately 1/3 of ALL Jews in the world prior to WWII. 2/3 of today*s Catholic population in the U.S.A. is a little over 51,000,000 people. Think about that in context. As I sat in a service for the commemoration I was thinking about how relevant it is this year. While it Yom Hashoah is a Jewish remembrance, I think the significance reaches far beyond Jews. While I am a Jew, I am also an American. To me the two are intricately intertwined. Listening to people who have visited parts of Europe where Jewish memorials stand yet no Jews live anymore was sobering. Again, not because of the Jews that died but how hate, unchallenged, can be so toxic.
Like it or not we are all Part of a Community
In my 25 years as an attorney I have been blessed to meet so many incredible people of all cultures and backgrounds. I have met people who are 85, 90, 95+ who have lived so many experiences different than mine. They shared with me their struggles. I have been awed by their strength (and admitted to myself quietly that I am not sure I would have survived what they did). But I also learned of their joys, their different celebrations, their different traditions. Some of them I look forward to trying, some not. But at no time did I feel that I was not better for having met these people. I learned so much from their experiences. Hate prevents that learning. Hate poisons the opportunity to gain from each other*s experiences. Hate kills not only people but communities, countries, worlds. Like it or not we are all part of a community.
Additional resources provided by the author
I will not deny that when I read the news and I hear of exponential growth in hate crimes (to Jews, Muslims and other groups) I get concerned. Not just for the safety of people that I love. But because it is a very short step from being the hater in the majority to the person being hated in the minority. Look in the schoolyard. One day you are a cool kid and one day you can be the uncool kid. This occurs internationally as well as locally.
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