Tonight I went to Temple Israel in Tulsa.
The front of their building is covered in literal stone tablets of the 10 Commandments:
Inside, the welcoming environment included brochures for the community food bank, the wellness center for aging, and other local non-profit agencies:
There was even information about domestic violence and breast self-exams in the women’s restrooms:
This is a community that takes care of their people!
They are also a community who celebrate their culture, religion, and heritage:
They are sensitive to the needs of those with hearing loss, providing fancy headphones right by the entrance!
Unfortunately, with cochlear implants I need the old school box-headset-receiver-thing to go with my special cords for my processors. But now that I know they are wired for it, next time I will bring my own!
The program was given by Dr. Mordecai Paldiel, the former director of the Department of the Righteous at Yad Vashem in Israel.
Yad Vashem is the holocaust museum I went to when I was in Israel. It is amazing, with a museum that zig zags you through the history of the holocaust. There are videos and pictures and artifacts and whole rooms set up. It is hard to describe, but is more amazing than any museum I have been to in the world. The videos are testimonies of survivors, and they are incredible stories. There is also a monument to the children who died, shining them like a million stars in a way I cannot even describe.
On the grounds, trees are planted to honor the Righteous. These are the non-Jewish people who rescued Jews, without payment or benefit, and their stories confirmed by the survivors.
They say to rescue one is to have saved a nation.
Think of that when you are rescuing one by one, whether visiting teaching or working at the Temple.
Dr. Paldiel’s talk was very good, sharing his own story of being a six year old escaping with his family from Belgium to France, where they were then smuggled into Switzerland the day before the Gestapo took over border control. He also read many stories from others, so many stories. I cried and cried.
A choir from All Souls Unitarian sang, and they were lovely. I had very much liked that church when I first moved to Tulsa, but they would not provide interpreters.
We had sixty seconds of silence, ten seconds for each million killed, just like they do in Israel on this day.
They also lit candles, one candle for each million and a seventh for the non-Jews who gave their lives helping.
The kids who lit the candles were the winners of the art contest in Tulsa. Here is some of the art, expressions of how the children of Tulsa are learning and will always remember: