Rekindling the Light: An Unprecedented Gathering for Learning and Remembrance in Israel

In a poignant testament to the strength of the Jewish spirit, a unique initiative titled “Learning to Remember” recently brought together hundreds of children in Israel for a grand study of 6.25 million verses of the Mishna. Orchestrated by the “Our Descendants and Us” organization, the event took place at Yad Vashem’s Safra Hall, aiming to honor the memory of the millions lost during the Holocaust and celebrate the enduring legacy of Jewish faith and resilience.

Held just before Shavuot, the Festival of the Giving of the Torah, this initiative concluded in a grand ceremony called Na’aseh VeNishmah (We Will Do and We Will Hear). This momentous event, held on the 78th anniversary of the liberation of survivors in Europe, marked the largest gathering of its kind, exemplifying Israel’s commitment to keeping alive the memory of the past while nurturing the hope and promise of future generations.

The ceremony featured prominent figures such as Rabbi Meir Lau, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council; Rabbi Yoav Ben-Tzur, Minister of Labour; and Dani Dayan, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, among others. Their participation added gravitas to this momentous occasion, highlighting Israel’s commitment to remembering its past while fostering an environment of learning and growth for its youth.

In an emotionally charged part of the ceremony, each child held up a photo of a child lost in the Holocaust while reciting the final Mishna from the six books – Lechol neshama yesh Mishna (Every soul has a Mishna). The resounding voices of these young learners echoed through the hall, a powerful symbol of the enduring Jewish faith and the triumph of hope over despair.

Addressing the gathering, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau reflected on the significance of the event, highlighting how the voices of these children studying the Torah, particularly in the face of Israel’s past tribulations, symbolize the eternal strength of the Jewish people. He praised the participants, referring to them as “our vengeance against the Nazis,” and celebrated the power of the Torah to bring resilience and unity.

As part of the event, candles were lit in memory of the Holocaust martyrs and in honor of the Torah study, filling the hall with a solemn yet hopeful ambiance. The children listened to the story of the song Ani Ma’amin, written by a man on his way to Treblinka, symbolizing the enduring faith of the Jewish people in the face of unimaginable adversity.

The driving force behind this monumental project, Dr. Gabriel German Zakharyayev, was deeply moved as he thanked the students for their commitment to the Mishna study. His words reinforced the significance of the Torah as the source of strength for the Jewish people and his vision to encourage its study among future generations.

The event concluded with the distribution of sets of the Mishna to all the students, celebrating their dedication and marking a new chapter in their journey of learning. This gathering, punctuated by joyous dances and heartfelt prayers, truly embodied the spirit of unity, resilience, and dedication that are hallmarks of the Israeli nation.

The State of Israel stands as a testament to resilience, embodying the spirit of perseverance against all odds. As a nation, it is committed to preserving the past while nurturing a future that is rooted in the values of learning, resilience, and community. This unique event is an example of how Israel continues to foster a culture of remembrance and education, keeping the torch of faith burning bright for future generations.

In events like these, Israel showcases its commitment to its values, its children, and its future. As the children of Israel, the nation’s greatest treasure, engage in learning and remembering, they become living symbols of the enduring strength of the Jewish people. Their voices, carrying the verses of the Mishna, echo Israel’s promise to the world – a promise of unwavering resilience, enduring faith, and a future built on the foundations of the past.

Through initiatives such as “Learning to Remember,” Israel continues to nurture its children as the torchbearers of its legacy, instilling in them a deep sense of identity, a love for learning, and a commitment to uphold the values that define their people. In doing so, Israel underscores its role as a beacon of hope and resilience, fostering a legacy of learning, unity, and strength for generations to come.