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Yad Vashem: A message

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Tuesday, 25 August, 2009

"A responsibility to remember": Tal Madar reflects on the significance of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum.

"And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name (a "yad vashem")... that shall not be cut off." (Isaiah, chapter 56, verse 5)

This biblical verse represents the significance of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum – to give those who were murdered by the Nazis a final resting place and memorial, and bear witness to their stories.

For most of the six million Jews that were murdered in the Holocaust, there is no grave, no one to tell the world who they were, what their dreams were, who they loved, or even what they looked like.

For me walking in Yad Vashem is walking in a sacred space - I feel that being there sends a message to my community and to the world: Beware of hatred. Beware of fascism. Learn to love, question your leader, and most importantly, do not ever look the other way.

The Holocaust is one of the darkest corners of human history. The big question that we need to ask ourselves is - what now? What do we need to do? What we should talk about? What do we need to explore as Jews and as people?

When The Elders visit Yad Vashem, these are some of the issues that they may be confronted with - by getting to know and see even just one person's story – one person whose life has been collected piece by piece, put together like a puzzle.

As a youth leader, it is important for me to know and share that youth often embodied the will to survive in spite of all difficulties and horrors. It was youth who led the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and other courageous actions that serve as symbols in history for the Jewish people and the world – symbols that demonstrate we can change and we should not accept any reality forced upon us.

For me the Holocaust is a part of my biography, even though I wasn’t there and my family wasn’t there. It is my responsibility to remember it - not in order to get pity from any one - but in order to take responsibility for myself and my people.

Tal Madar is 27 years old. She is the head of the Ihud Hahaklai (Farmer's Union) Youth Movement. She grew up in Bet Itshak, an agricultural village close to Netanya, and currently lives in Moshav Gdolim in the area. She is married to Yadin and mother to a one-year-old girl named Yuval.

Views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Elders or The Elders Foundation.

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