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Connecting to the Past – Poland & Yom HaShoa

by Tova Kamioner

First trip to the kotel for holocaust survivorI am honored and awestruck to be able to return to Israel on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

This is a photo of my Zaydie Chil z"l at the Kotel for the first time. Though he survived the Holocaust and was able to move to America after the war, most of his family perished by the brutal means of the Nazis.

Naturally, today, memories of my trip to Poland with Nishmat and Migdal Oz before Pesach are racing through my mind. Our return was perhaps more powerful than anything else I experienced, and perhaps one of the only memories I can somewhat put into words. We went straight to the Kotel, and suddenly everything in front of me took on a new meaning. It was then that I was reminded of this picture from my living room in Riverdale. At that moment, I was flooded with a desire to recreate the picture, to join my Zaydie and millions of others in the embrace of the beginning of the geulah, a ray of hope after such devastating times. The picture I Tova  at the Koteltook is now my profile picture on Facebook, and it carries this special significance.

Today, I honor the memory of my family and all who perished in the Holocaust, those who survived, and all those who built up the Jewish people from destruction. יהי זכרם ברוך. Today, I return to Israel. עם ישראל חי.