Jewish Journal


June 28, 2010

Day 3: Los Angeles Religious Leaders Mission - Lonely and Unsure at Yad Vashem



by Dr. Joshua Holo, Incoming Dean, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles

Though I recognize its necessity, I do not like Yad Vashem. I enter with gloomy anxiety, and I leave exhausted and burdened with sorrow.

In truth, however, my distaste does not come from these emotions themselves, unpleasant as they are. More intractably, I begrudge myself the fact of feeling them in the first place. The mere acknowledgment of having experienced these feelings seems self-centered and indulgent. We visitors at the memorial are not meant to be subjects or actors but rather only to be subjected to, to be the objects and vehicles of Yad Vashem’s demand for justice—and only vestigial justice, at that.

It is a lonely, unsure state to find oneself in, which prevents me, at least, from granting Yad Vashem much beyond the fact that neither the Jewish people, the State of Israel, nor indeed the world, can afford to be without it.

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