Tzom Rabin?

 On today, the Yahrzeit of Yitzhak Rabin, I pause to remember the man he was and his importance to the Jewish people. As I look back on the past 14 years since his death I think about how much has changed in the world and also what has changed in my own life. But has anything really changed?
There is clearly a growing generational gap between our parents generation and today’s young adults. Being born after 1980 means that in their lifetime AIDS has always existed. The Vietnam War is as ancient history to them as WWI or WWII, or even the Civil War. Bert and Ernie are old enough to be their parents. Barbie has always had a job. And most relevant to today, President Kennedy’s assassination is as significant to them as that of Lincoln or Garfield. ( Source: Beloit College’s “Mindset List”)

Just as my father knows exactly where he was when Kennedy was shot, I know exactly where I was when Rabin was shot. And for our three children Rabin will be as distant as Kennedy is to today’s college students. With that in mind I feel that is even more important to teach our children the lessons of the day. In President Bill Clinton’s eulogy for Rabin he wrote, “Yitzhak Rabin lived the history of Israel. Throughout every trial and triumph, the struggle for independence, the wars for survival, the pursuit of peace and all he served on the front lines, this son of David and of Solomon, took up arms to defend Israel’s freedom and lay down his life to secure Israel’s future.” I hope that our children learn that contributing to the world as a responsible citizen does not happen despite their Jewish identity, but actually can be lived out more fully through their Jewish identity. Yes, Rabin’s assassination teaches us how violence is senseless, but I want Rabin’s memory to be for what he did, not what was done to him. If the only thing we learn today is the tragedy of killing the leader of the Jewish people, the next generation might as well move commemorating Rabin’s Yahrtzeit to Tzom Gedalia.

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