Sharing the Kaddish
by Bishop Graham
It was an honor to attend the National Commemoration of the Days of Remembrance in the Capitol Rotunda yesterday morning. Sponsored by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, the event included recognition of Holocaust survivors living in our area, with the presentation of the flags of the U.S. Army divisions that liberated the death camps in western and central Europe.
President Donald Trump’s speech was the highlight of the event. I don’t believe that he was originally scheduled to be present, but he used the occasion to speak passionately about rejecting anti-Semitism and hatred, and he condemned Holocaust denial in extremely blunt language. I’m glad the president said what he did.
The whole event was powerfully moving. I knew I was a little out of place, especially because I seemed to be the only person in the great hall who didn’t know how to sing the Kaddish, the Hebrew mourner’s prayer, that came at the very end. But I was there to show respect and bear witness and, in some small way, to represent us all.
May our memories of such horrors stir us up to courage and mercy and kindness in our own time.
NOTE: The week-long Days of Remembrance was first held in 1979 and then later established by Congress as the nation’s commemoration of the Holocaust. This year’s Days of Remembrance will be observed from Sunday, April 23 through Sunday April 29. (from USHMM.org)