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Memories of Recent Travels to Russia

By Harriet Werfel Edwards

Leaves fall

slashes of brilliant crimson, orange, brown, come to rest

Branches silhouette the sky

Sunshine highlights still clinging leaves.

“There used to be a synagogue in this town,” our local Russian guide cheerily informs us.

Nothing more is said. No one asks the question.

Jews lived in this town once. The Jews are gone.

“More than three million Jews from the USSR

were murdered during World War Two”

our young group leader tells us.

Nothing more is said. No one asks any questions.

Jews once lived in this vast country, millions of Jews.

They were destroyed.

The Pale of Settlement has been resettled.

Unmentioned pogroms. Forgotten Jews

And so we must give voice

To remember those whose synagogues became relics

whose communities were obliterated.

We give voice to those who have no descendants to mourn their loss

They became nameless, faceless.

We give voice to mourn the lost millions, to educate our young.

We cannot sit silently as evil and destruction take hold.

I need to ask questions, to raise my voice, to make a difference.

Mon, April 22 2024 14 Nisan 5784