Cantors Assembly Mission to Germany: Final Thoughts
When I first began posting videos of our trip to Germany, YouTube required me to fill in what “category” these videos fell under. Without hesitation, I selected not “music”, not “entertainment”, but “education.” I was struck by one of Professor Berke’s final statements of our Germany mission: “Write and recall.”
Write and recall. The goal of this blog is not to write and pack up these memories in a photo album. This is something to revisit often to remind ourselves “never again.” The photo above was taken at Dachau Concentration Camp, where barracks holding thousands of captives once stood. I’ve heard the concept of “out of the ashes” something is reborn. I know that flowers may bloom in dark places. Yet I am struck that this plant grows amid the ROCKS and stones of Dachau. In Judaism, we place rocks (as the symbol of God, “Tzur”, as our rock) on the gravestones to remember loved ones and teachers. Flowers, while beautiful, whither away over time. But in remembering, marking these places and this moments as holy, we make sure that this sapling will grow to be “k’erez bal’vanon yisgeh”, thriving like a cedar of Lebanon.
Judaism is not pediatric. This is not something we should expect our children or grandchildren to do unless we live Jewish lives, visit these memories, these places, and recall what happened there. For me, these rocks that fill the roads of Dachau are there for a reason. They are there for Jews and non-Jews alike to pick up, mark the moment and remember what happened during the Shoah. Lo Tishkach, you should not forget. May this musical journey inspire others to visit places of horror AND places of hope, placing a rock on the grave of the unknown, so that while their names may not be known, their memories WILL be for a blessing.