This year I am going to blend two different holidays in terms of how I practice: Passover and Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah). Of course, I will keep the laws dealing with food being Kosher for Passover. This will be a little tricky because I have to buy all of my food online. Mom and I are both unable to drive–Mom because she is living on the onset of dementia and me because I never could drive. (However, I do have a car buddy to take me to services for Pesach and Yom HaShoah.)
Anyway, for the two holidays, I shall spend my time from April 5 to April 18 reading up on the Holocaust. The first book, Haggadah of the Holocaust Survivors, is relevant to both Pesach (when we read the Haggadah) and Yom HaShoah (because Jews read it freshly liberated from the camps). Including and after this Haggadah, I shall read the following:
Haggadah of the Holocaust Survivors;
Music in Terezín 1941-1945;
The Girls of Room 28: Friendship, Hope and Survival in Theresienstadt;
Raoul Wallenberg: The Heroic Life and Mysterious Disappearance of the Man Who Saved Thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust;
Letters and Dispatches 1924-1944: The Man Who Saved Over 100,000 Jews, Centennial Edition by Raoul Wallenberg.
During the time when I read it I hope to save time to listen to music which was produced by Holocaust victims–mainly at Theresienstadt, where there was a brief reprieve for the victims in the “Model Concentration Camp” which Hitler used as window dressing for what was really going on towards the Jews. Most of the Jews who were there would eventually die in the regular camps, but while they were there–in defiance of the Germans who controlled the camp–cultural life flourished. Anyway, I have four CDs I plan to listen to, whether for the first time or whether relistening to it. These CDs are the following:
Composers of the Holocaust: Ghetto Songs from Warsaw, Vilna and Terezín;
Composers from Theresienstadt 1941-1945;
Spiritual Resistance: Music from Theresienstadt;
Brundibár: Children’s Opera in two acts.
I know that Pesach is not a Holiday of mourning but of joy, but I feel that since I have meant to read these books and listen to these CDs for so long, I will do it now and count it as a mitzvah. For Yom Kippur I shall doubtless reread The Diary of Anne Frank and Anne Frank Remembered… Last year at various times, I already read different diaries or memoirs of children who died in the Holocaust or survived the Holocaust. Perhaps next year, on the other hand, I will get out my Sefer ha-Aggadah (Legends of the Jews) and read it, so that I will better honor the joyous nature of Pesach.