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Two uniformed Israeli soldiers praying at the Western Wall

Every year, on the fourth of the Hebrew month of Iyar, Israel observes Yom HaZikaron, a day of memorial for fallen soldiers and victims of terror. Enacted into law by the Israeli Parliament (the Knesset) in 1963, the holiday intentionally falls the day before Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. This year, Yom HaZikaron begins at sundown on April 30.

The progression draws a clear connection between the liberty that Israelis enjoy as citizens of a free, independent nation and the sacrifices...

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Tealights lit in honor of Yom HaShoah

Today is Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), and I have the distinct honor of observing it in Jerusalem.

From 1933 to 1945, the Nazi regime murdered 12 million people; six million of the victims were Jews. The other victims included Roma, Sinti, political prisoners, disabled individuals, and those who identified as gay and lesbian. They were all murdered simply because of their identity. The loss of life and potential is incomprehensible.

As a Black Jewish American man, I have always struggled to...

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Old gravestone with Hebrew lettering

“I knew your father, of blessed memory, in Bendin,” the elderly man informed me in the midst of a bar mitzvah party. “I was there recently,” he continued, “and saw the building next to the railroad station on Malachowska Street where the Manheimers lived before the war. Are you planning to visit Poland anytime soon?”

“Maybe I’ll go there someday,” I said, not wanting to disappoint him. I asked him for a map and he drew one on the back of his business card. It was still in my wallet, when I received an invitation several weeks later to join a Jewish press tour to Poland.

The...

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Barbed wire fence in front of Majdanek concentration camp on a sunny day

From Anne Frank's diary to Elie Wiesel's Night, books about the Holocaust remain some of the most powerful and well-known pieces of literature published in the past century. Books have the power to educate about the Shoah's unimaginable horrors and bring to life the stories of its victims, as well as unearth hidden details about wartime crimes.

Ahead of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, JTA reached out to Jewish studies scholars across the country seeking their recommendations on...

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Stone wall engraved with a quote from Isaiah reading YOU ARE MY WITNESSES

Why would a college student go to Poland, of all places, for spring break?

Why do I consider Eastern Europe the homeland for Ashkenazi Jews?

Why is a 23-year old Jewish woman whose family left Europe prior to 1910 so deeply engaged in Holocaust education and history?

These are questions I've heard often, and my answer is the same: Because it happened to the Jewish people, it also happened to me.

The Holocaust did not impact my family in the same way of my peers whose grandparents are survivors, or my colleagues whose families escaped the war. Yet as a Jew,...

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