Earlier this month, Jewish families around the world came together for Passover seders as they retold the story of the exodus from Egypt. Through symbols, rituals, and blessings, people celebrated the blessing of freedom and the reminder that since we were once slaves and were freed, it is our responsibility to work for freedom for all people everywhere. Passover is a joyous holiday that helps us remember a history of oppression with a celebration of freedom and feelings of hope to come.
Soon after Passover every year, we observe a more somber day of remembrance. Today at 5:00 p.m., the DePaul community will come together to observe Yom HaShoah, a day of remembrance for the six million Jewish people and millions of others who lost their lives during the Holocaust. During this event, we will mourn the loss of all who perished and honor those who survived. Together we will reflect, remember, and learn from this tragedy. We vow never to forget.
Zachor, the Hebrew word for remember, is found in the Hebrew Bible nearly 200 times. This includes the commandment to remember the exodus from Egypt, along with remembering to keep the Sabbath and other commandments. The Baal Shem Tov (Jewish mystic and founder of Hasidism) taught, “Forgetfulness leads to exile while remembrance is the secret of redemption.”
Remembering our past is important, but it is not enough. In a White House briefing on Yom HaShoah last year, President Biden wrote, “Remembrance is our eternal duty, but remembrance without action risks becoming an empty ritual.”
During this season of remembrance, I challenge you to consider those on campus who may not feel free to be their authentic selves. Students may not feel truly free because of antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism, classism, or other forms of hate and oppression.
The mission of the university states, “DePaul compassionately upholds the dignity of all members of its diverse, multi-faith, and inclusive community.”
How do we live out our mission so that all feel free? In our daily lives, what can we do to help move from the oppression of our past to the hope of freedom in the future?
Reflection by: Dr. Jennifer Goldberg, Jewish Life and Interfaith Coordinator, Division of Mission and Ministry
 Avinoam Patt, “Zachor: Why Jewish Memory Matters,” My Jewish Learning, https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/zachor-why-jewish-memory-matters/.
 “A Proclamation on Days of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust, 2022,” the White House, April 22, 2022, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2022/04/22/a-proclamation-on-days-of-remembrance-of-victims-of-the-holocaust-2022/.
 “University Mission Statement,” Division of Mission and Ministry, DePaul University, March 4, 2021, https://offices.depaul.edu/mission-ministry/about/Pages/mission.aspx.