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Holocaust Memorial Day in Gush Katif

Since we don’t yet have a food store in Kfar Darom, and people don’t want to live only on the delicious lettuce and greens which the farmers in our community grow, we have to buy our food elsewhere. Many of the larger families buy their goods in the cities nearby, while smaller families, like ours (actually we are a very large family with our goats, but they are more than happy with the lettuce) buy in the supermarkets of Gush Katif.

I teach three days a week and study on the remaining three days so I am left with little or no time to even think about food shopping, let alone step into a store. Actually, its all for the best since my eyes are larger than my income and stomach, and I would probably buy half the store and go bankrupt.

Today, however, since I began teaching in the later hours of the morning I decided to visit the shopping center of Neve Dekalim, Gush Katif’s largest community. While I was in the process of filling a small bag with dried dates in a health food store, I heard the sound of a far off siren. On eof the customers quickly put down her bags and stood still. Other following her did the same. A second lather the sound of Neve Dekalim’s air raid siren joined that of the far off one. We all stood there silently, hands at our sides. We were united with all of the country, thinking, praying…. After a few moments the sirens died down and people began moving about continuing with their day’s shopping.

While walking to the community’s main gate to try and catch a ride back to Kfar Darom, I passed by the Neot Katif Elementary School. From the school yard driftied the amplified boice of a young boy who was reciting his part in the school’s memorial service. Around him sitting on the school’s grass were many students accompanied by their teachers. Two mornings ago a mortar fell in the very same school yard, just a short while before school began. While listening to the boy’s voice, I couldn’t help but think about the times memories are constantly reawakened.

When I returned to Kfar Darom, I quickly ran home, put the rapidly defrosting food in the freezer and ran out again to our newly built school to teach English. In all of my classes we talked about the Holocaust – learning new English words related to the subject. With great admiration and awe the children exchanged stories about the strength and courage of so many during that terrible time. Since much of the time the children are great menaces in my classroom, I was moved by their seriousness and show of feelings. As they spoke I watch and listened to them in amazement. These children, who have gone through so much, who overcame through courage and strength so many obstacles, forgot about their own lives and were in awe of other from the past. I looked at these children and saw in them the continuation of our people… those who live on bravely for the millions who burned in the ovens of the Holocaust and never merited to see the land of Israel.

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