Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Today: Cultural Experience 2 of 2

Following dinner night with my AP Human Geography class (see previous post), most of those students in attendance then traveled to the Hall of Mirrors inside of Oklahoma City's Civic Center for the Yom HaShoah Commemoration (Holocaust Memorial) event titled "Remembrance: Keep the Flame Burning".  This event was co-presented by the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma City Memorial and Museum.

Dr. Michael Berenbaum was the guest speaker and challenged the audience to allow the memories of a painful past to be used for productive activism so as to make the future better.  His words were also designed to encourage us to be ever mindful of preserving the memories of events through our stewardship of history (oral accounts, written records, video recordings, etc.) especially when the lives of those who physically lived through the event are reaching, en masse, the natural ends of their lives.  Dr. Berenbaum referred to this as the shift "from living memory to historical memory."

Other highlights of the evening included the audience's recitation of the Mourners' Kaddish (see video below), a candle lighting ceremony in which audience members lit candles in honor or in memory of loved ones (many of whom were connected to the Holocaust), and a special closing by Rabbi Abby Jacobson of OKC's Emanuel Synagogue who reminded the audience of the difference between mourning and memory: when we think of a deceased loved one and our first thoughts are about the tragedy of their death we are still in mourning but when our first thoughts about the positive impact of their life on us we have transitioned to memory.

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