Two Trains (Holocaust Memorial Day)

Ron Cantor —  April 28, 2014 — Leave a comment

As many of you know, today is Holocaust Memorial Day. At 10:00 A.M., as Tal and I headed to the studio to record our podcast, the sirens began to ring. Sirens can be heard all over Israel, in every city, from every direction. This happens on Memorial Day (which is next week) and today, on Yom HaShoah.

We were on the highway leading into Tel Aviv. Along with other motorists we pulled onto the side of the road, exited and stood next to our vehicle in two minutes of silence. All traffic stops as even the radio stations play the sphira—the siren.

Standing there I noticed something I had not seen before. The passenger train that travels from Ashkelon (south) to Nahariya (north) had also stopped. This was not surprising—of course they would stop—but in ten years of living in Israel I had never been next to a train when the siren sounded.

My mind drifted to the trains in Germany and Poland. Once those trains transported Jews to their death. Now, we have trains that transport Israelis to work. On the former, people were stuffed so close together that many suffocated. On the latter, people sit comfortably in the air-conditioned cars, tapping away on their computers. One train symbolized the attempted death of a people, the other testifies to her resurrection.

What a contrast.

Of course, the problem with the comfort of the new train is that it can lull you to sleep. As you check your email and text with your friend, you can forget the train of death, the six million. But we mustn’t. We can never forget.