Memory of six million Jews, each million represented by a unique individual; Stella Szafir of Lodz, Poland, who was murdered at CHELMNO in 1942, aged 16; Andras Ungar of Ujpest, who was murdered at AUSCHWITZ in 1944, aged 8; Stella Bagrova of Ananyev, who was murdered at ANANYEV in 1941, aged 6; Nache Szafir of Czeladz, who was murdered at AUSCHWITZ in 1943, aged 9; Mali Fenichel of Differdange, who was murdered at UNKNOWN, aged 10; Laibsh Mendelovic of Borsha, who was murdered at AUSCHWITZ in 1944, aged 7.
Sixty- five pilgrims arrived from the four corners of the Duchy and from Bristol, London, Berkshire, San Francisco and Israel to celebrate the first face-to-face Seder in four years. The service was expertly led by Adam Feldman and Murray Brown and the colourful feast was prepared by some of our talented chefs. Many thanks to Anne and David Hearle for captaining the whole affair. All in all, it was a most meaningful and delightful event.
Authoritarian governments and extremists of all stripes are responsible for widespread cultural destruction through terrorism, war, ethnic cleansing, and other forms of mass violence, of which book and library burnings are also a clear and prime example.
One way of making an ethnicity or culture disappear is to kill all its people; another one is to erase their past, their traditions, their culture, and replace them with the conquerors, which are considered to be better, more powerful, and even the only true ones.
To generate unity and loyalty among members of a group or nation, it is important to convince them that their group, dynasty, clan, religion, ethnicity, fraternity, political party, sports team, is better than the others. Taken to an extreme, this idea can lead to discrimination and even war and genocide. There have been book and library burnings since ancient times. Even though we might think they have been over for decades, they are still ongoing. This presentation will provide several examples and analyse the motivations for this symbolic act.
It is important to understand that what is at risk with book burning is the preservation and continuation of the common cultural heritage of the world, something that should be defended at all costs.
Spring is coming and, with it, one of the loveliest festivals of the Jewish year: Pesach. It is one of the three pilgrim festival when we come together to remember special times, to reflect on how precarious life can be, but, most importantly, to rejoice. The last time we came together in person to celebrate Pesach, however, was – would you believe it – four years ago. The first lock-down descended just days before the 2020 Seder. Pesach 2021 was definitely barred. How happy we were in early 2022 as our first face-to-face Seder since 2019 approached. Then disaster struck: several of our members caught Covid in the weeks leading up to the festival. So here we are a year later in 2023. This time we will prevail. We will throw off the bonds of slavery, sweep away the crumbs and the dust and the cobwebs lurking in the corners, and emerge into the light.
Pesach is a time to look inside our hearts and clear away a few dusty habits grown stiff with complacency. And it is a time to celebrate the great gift of freedom and the coming together of the people of Israel in a covenant with God. Our seder is a wonderful occasion for both children and adults.
The first night of Pesach this year will be on Wednesday, 5thApril and we will be celebrating in grand style. Who will find the afikomen this year? Do come and join us. It marks the beginning of our journey to the Promised Land. If you’re visiting Cornwall and interested in attending, please contact the chairman.
Torpoint Community College has told a distinctive story for Holocaust Memorial Day by mounting a moving project based on the life of Leon Greenman, a renowned Holocaust survivor and anti-fascist activist. Callington Community College and Camborne Science & International Academy have also mounted creative exhibitions.