In Poland last year to help the small Jewish community of Poznan lead its Pesach seders, I spent some time in a small café down the street from the city’s former synagogue (serving since communist times as a municipal swimming pool) with the director of a small art gallery.
It’s been more than a week since Holocaust Remembrance Day, but I still have not heard a rational explanation of why students attending a play shouted encouragement during scenes depicting Jews being beaten and killed by Nazis.
“Hit him harder,” one student cried out as a kapo beat a Jew.
“Well done,” shouted another.
Others cheered and applauded the work of the Nazis.
This took place not in the United States or Europe but in the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv before an audience of hundreds of Jewish high school students!!!
‘I never missed a seder,’ says survivor who risked his life to join family at a seder in the doomed Jewish quarter.
Near the start of the seders I conduct, mostly in former communist countries, I usually cite, then refute, the statement by Ahad Ha’am, the early Zionist leader, that “More than Israel has kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept Israel.”
The seder, I say, has preserved the Jewish people; most are not shomer Shabbat; most go to a seder, even it involves a sacrifice.