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University of Haifa International School Student Blog

Silence, Hearing, Observing, and Remembering: Reflections on Yom HaShoah


By: Julia Kaback

One of my favorite musicals, Into the Woods with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim has a classic lyric:

Careful the things you say
Children will listen
Careful the things you do
Children will see and learn

               This past Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 24th), also known as Yom HaShoah in Israel, was one I will always remember. My Hebrew professor began the class with an announcement that at 9:55AM, we would be let out early to observe a moment of silence at 10AM. At 9:55, my friends and I proceeded to the balcony of the Student Building where the view of Haifa is spectacular and the highway is clearly seen. At 10, a siren was sounded and we stood for two minutes in silence. Everything in front of us had come to standstill. Mourning and observing a moment of a silence for those who perished in the Holocaust was placed right in front of us.

As a student in Israel right now, I can see why such tragedies such as the Holocaust need to be remembered. We need to remember that such events happened and the loss of life will never be replaced. In Israel, those two minutes of silence symbolize people from all walks of life coming together to recognize the tragedy. That night, we listened to Zev Kedem a survivor of the Holocaust give a talk about his experiences. Like Sondheim’s lyrics, Zev was a child during this period. He saw, heard, and listened to the events happening around him. He survived knowing that hard work would save his life. I look to Sondheim in writing this post because we must remember the Holocaust and teach generation after generation about its importance in history, and in our minds. Sondheim’s song concludes with:

Children will glisten
Tamper with what is true
And children will turn
If just to be free
Careful before you say
“Listen to me”
Children will listen


Julia Kaback is a a junior, American Studies major at Connecticut College where she writes for The Experience Blog and The College Voice about her experiences. This semester Julia is studying History, Political Science, and Hebrew at The international School.


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