Holocaust Memorial Day is a global forum on Remembering the Holocaust: STAND TOGETHER Fighting Antisemitism, at Yad Vashem taking place today, January 23rd. It is attended by dozens of world leaders, including beingEmmanuel Macron, the French president, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, Mike Pence, the US vice-president, and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German president.
This day is especially poignant for the children that have found a loving, nurturing environment in Bayit Lepletot - GIRLS TOWN JERUSALEM, which is a Home not only for orphans but for refugee children as well. The Holocaust – the Shoah – and its aftermath was truly the catalyst for this incredible Home which has meet the needs of thousands of girls since its inception. After the Second World War, there was no appropriate setting for refugees from the Holocaust who came pouring in, legally and illegally, to the shores of our Homeland. There was a desperate need for a haven for the broken, stranded and orphaned children, girls of all ages, whose parents were killed by Hitler, some of whom were the sole survivors of their families or of their towns.
Bayit Lepletot, which means a home for refugees, was founded in 1949, soon after the Second World War, when the refugees from the European Holocaust came pouring in, legally and illegally, to the shores of our Homeland. Girls Town Jerusalem has also absorbed the refugees of the Jewish communities in the Arab states during and after the wars in 1948, ’67 & ‘73. The situation that emerged was once again one of pogroms and persecution, at times orchestrated by the government, at times through spontaneous eruptions that occurred with the tacit support of the authorities.
The topic of anti-Semitism unfortunately could not be timelier. Here, the students in Girls Town Jerusalem have been involved in special programming on this topic for the past two weeks, beginning with the 10th of Tevet. That date has always been the designated day in the Hebrew calendar as a day of mourning on which to recite the Kaddish prayer for of those whose date of death is unknown, and who may have no specific place of burial, throughout the generations. The culmination will be today when world leaders have gathered in their own city of Jerusalem. At the same time, our girls are directing their prayers that Jerusalem will be redeemed and rebuilt speedily and in our days.