My thoughts for the all important Yom HaShoa.

New photo for RJMs column 19 MarchIts a very emotional day for me and my family, not only because of recent events between SACRED and the board of deputies, regarding the issue of discrimination of women singing, but because I am a 3rd generation holocaust survivor.

Today my mom flew to Israel to be with my gran, who is going to celebrate 85 years next week in Israel. My Gran’s family (as with so many present today,) were killed by Germans, and our eldest daughter is now named after my granny’s mom – Emilia.

On the whole it was admittedly a beautiful and truly moving ceremony held at Westpark. I noted a footnote on the programme, it was written; “all are invited to sing,“ but these words rang hollow, and only left a bitter taste for me, knowing why this was printed there in the first place really hurt, knowing what is really happening behind “closed doors” left me even more upset than I already was to begin with.

There were meaningful and beautiful speeches, and a heart-breaking testimony from Veronica Phillips. Unfortunately not only were female vocals not aloud, but there appeared to be an unwritten ban on me personally, I was rarely greeted, and the usual questions from “all and sundry” were no longer forthcoming….

Its ok, because while I was singing El Male Rachamim for my family, the thought distinctively came into my mind, how would Emilia- (my great grandmother) want me to be and to feel – should I feel like a victim, or should I stand up for myself, for what I believe in. In my heart standing there I decided to stand up for what I believe in, as a strong human being, and I know my granny and great-gran would be proud of me, proud of what I stand up for, proud of what I have dedicated my life to, standing there -I just knew it.

So I sang today for my family, for the family I never had a chance to meet, for grandparents of my friends that they never had a chance to see, and for all 6 million human beings- Children, man and women that were so sadly taken from us.

May their memory be for a blessing.

Rabbi Julia Margolis

2016-05-05 12.50.57

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