Yesterday, January 27, was Holocaust Remembrance Day. Next week is the class on Judaism in my World Religions class, and this is one of the subjects I cover when we review the Jewish festival days. Here are 70 stories of Auschwitz on youtube by those who survived it. Hard to view, but we must not forget the evil people can do to people.
Tisha B’Av (lit. “the ninth of Av”, a month on the Jewish calendar) is an annual fast day in Judaism which commemorates the anniversary of a number of disasters in Jewish history, primarily the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. The class looks at the modern day Jewish attempt to get the Jewish people to observe the day, seen by many as too negative and difficult. Plus, it occurs during July-August, a usual vacation time for many, complete with long days of sunshine and warmth. Hardly a time for meditating upon disaster.
To meditate long upon evil and the horrors people can perpetrate upon one another probably can never be a popular thing to do. This is especially true in our modern Western culture hyped up on “positive steroids” as it is. Lament and mourning is not our thing. Seems to be true in the church, too. Perhaps this is one of the reasons it is difficult to get the church to pay attention to pro-life issues consistently. To think about what happens in abortion clinics day after day, hour after hour, just twists the mind and makes it hard to breathe. Hard to do in a church overcome with the message “be your best you” versions of Christianity.