Messages from Rabbi Russo

May 6, 2016 - 28 Nissan

Shabbat Shalom
Achrei Mot, after death...the parashah begins with the recognition of how to seek out holiness and God following the tragic deaths of Aaron's sons, Nadav and Avihu.  I have been thinking about these themes a lot on the morning after Yom HaShoah. The community came together last night as we learned the stories of five families in the Ukraine who survived the Shoah by living in caves for more than one and a half years.  The documentary/reenactment "No Place on Earth" (which can be ordered on Netflix for those who were not able to join us last night) taught us about survivors and victims.  The story which had not been told until recently chronicled how families lived in fear, in the dark, with little access to food for an extended period of time to escape Nazi persecution.  We learned about how families survived after their loved ones were killed.  It was painful to witness the reenactments of their murders on the screen.  After the movie we heard from the next generations of survivors, one of the child survivor's daughter and granddaughter answered questions.  How do we go on after death?  We remember our loved ones through stories, prayers, and the continuation of families when possible.  We do our best to seek out God and to capture the holiness that is inherent life with the recognition of loss.  As the generation of survivors are now dwindling, it is so essential that we continue to tell their stories and engage with our history.  The wisdom of the Torah has so much to tell us today.  After death we go on with the help of God and with the gift of memory.  This week we will recognize two more significant days, Yom Hazikiron and Yom Haaztmaut.  The Jewish Federation of Rockland will have a ceremony on Tuesday night and a celebration of Israel's Independence Day on Thursday afternoon at the JCC.  I hope to see you there.  
Shabbat Shalom.