The annual Holocaust Memorial Day will be on April 7-8 this year. As usual, there will be a local interfaith memorial service involving local Jewish, Christian, and Moslem clergy, with the usual compromises over agenda and content — in particular, whether or not to include the singing of “Hatikvah,” for fear of offending some participants (“Organizers to restore ‘Hatikvah’ to Shoa event,” Feb. 25).
For this reason, I am opposed to such “interfaith” commemorative events. They should be specifically Jewish events. Non-Jews wishing to demonstrate solidarity with Jews at a Holocaust commemoration should be welcomed entirely on our terms. There should be no question of non-Jews setting the agenda. There were other victims of the Nazis, to be sure, but we Jews were specifically singled out for genocide and lost one third of our people world-wide as a result. The meaning of “Hatikvah,” which became Israel’s national anthem, is “The Hope.” Hope has been crucial to our ability to pick ourselves up and reestablish our place in the world.
I might wish to participate in some interfaith event at some other time, but Shoa commemoration belongs to us alone. Singing “Hatikvah” is part of that. That should be the acid test: embrace the singing of “Hatikvah” or else create your own non-Shoa event.