Holocaust remembrance at home
Ari Wenig has become the Australian organiser for Zikaron BaSalon…an initiative which promotes Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day activities in Australian lounge rooms.
He writes from Israel where he made Aliya: “I first encountered Zikaron BaSalon through a guy that I met at a concert. A young, vibrant man by the name of Yonatan Bellik, who shared with me his passion and excitement for the new project he was running in the Diaspora. When I mentioned that I was Australian and had some writing experience he said – “Yalla! You’re hired!” – and just like that I was responsible for organising Zikaron BaSalon in Australia.
Zikaron BaSalon is a social initiative which takes place on the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Day. Literally meaning “remembrance in the living room” in Hebrew, Zikaron BaSalon offers a new, engaging and intimate way to commemorate this day and its significance through discussions at home among family, friends and guests. Alongside formal events, this unique and authentic tradition invites people to gather and together, express, discuss, and most importantly, listen. Zikaron BaSalon believes that the conversations held in the intimate surroundings are key factors for transitioning the memory of the Holocaust into a Moral Compass. Zikaron BaSalon is an instrument for revising and reshaping our society and by doing so, making it a better place for us to live in.
We suggest that a Zikaron BaSalon will include three parts: Testimony – filmed or personal, told by a Holocaust survivor, a child of one or an expert in the field; Expression – play music, read a poem, or any other way participants would like to express their feelings through creative lens; Discussion – a facilitated discussion that focuses on the memory of the Holocaust and its significance in our lives nowadays. You are invited to structure your event in the way that fits you best.
I was instantly taken by the concept, and as Yonatan shared with me that 500,000 people had been a part of this project last year, I felt myself fall into a living, breathing part of history. I couldn’t help but feel that THIS is how traditions are born. They are born of youthful, passionate and inspired individuals who want to make changes in order to increase the meaning and relevance of their life experiences. In essence, the Pesach seder came to be because a bunch of forward-thinking guys said ‘Lets sit around every year and tell the story of what happened to us’. And so too, now, 70 odd years after the Shoah, Zikaron BaSalon is taking the world by storm. I hope to see this tradition grow from strength to strength, and I hope to see Australia join the rest of world Jewry in this revolution.