Before we lit our Shabbat candles at home, I lit a Yahrzeit candle in memory of Shaya and his family.
Matthew celebrated his Bar Mitzvah on
04 May 2019
Matthews Bar Mitzvah Speech:
I am sure many of you are aware, last Wednesday, the 27th day of Nissan marked Yom HaShoah, the Remembrance Day dedicated to honour and remember the 6 million Jewish people who died during the Shoah, among them 1 and a half million children.
Falling so close to my Bar Mitzvah, I felt it was important to reflect on the Holocaust and those children who were not able to stand up on the Bimah and read from the Torah like I will today.
By participating in this twinning programme, we keep alive the memory of a child who did not have a chance to celebrate their Bar Mitzvah as their life was so tragically cut short during the war. My twin is Shaya Goldman who sadly was taken away from us at just 10 years old.
Shaya was born in Poland, in February 1932 and was the son of Perel and Avrum Goldman. Shaya’s family shares the same surname as my Nana Rosalyn whose family also came from Poland, however Nana’s family moved to London before the war.
Shaya and his family were housed in the Lodz Ghetto and they all perished in 1942 in the notorious death camp Chelmno.
Having his life cut short at only 10, I can’t even imagine what life would have been like to live during the Holocaust at such a young age. Who would Shaya go to if he needed advice? What did Shaya enjoy doing? Did Shaya have brothers and sisters? Did he light Shabbos candles on Friday with his family? With so many questions left unanswered, I have decided to mark the importance of his life by sharing my Bar Mitzvah with him, I’m sure he is up in heaven, looking down and enjoying this moment with us all.
Yesterday, before we lit our Shabbat candles at home, I lit a Yahrzeit candle in memory of Shaya and his family.
Yom HaShoah is significant to raise awareness and keep memories of young children like him alive for generations to come. We promised those that survived that we would never forget those who lost their lives to keep the Jewish community alive today. With this in mind, together we must remember the past, honour the memory, and together we shape the future to ensure we never forget.
Included in my twinning pack was an extract from a diary written by Donia Rosen dated 23rd June 1943. I have taken some relevant parts which I think sums up why we need to remember all the people who died in the holocaust.
I don’t know when it will happen, but I’m sure such a day will come, better days than these will come. And this is my aspiration. That precisely at the time they revive my words that many years later, after a better life we will have obscured this cruel period of time, after school children will no longer be able to tell you whether Hitler had a moustache or a beard, then my words will take you back
The extract finishes like this;
I want you to erect a memorial to us, a monument that would reach the heavens, a marker that the whole world will see. A sculpture not made of marble or stone but of good deeds. For I believe with all my heart that only such a monument may assure you a better future and the evildoers of this world will not return.
Thank you to those in the Shul who help organise this twinning program. I’d like to say a special thank you to Martin Mandelstam who started teaching me for my Bar Mitzvah.