** Webmaster Note: The following
completed with the use of translation software and the
translation was edited by Diane Moore. The original was written
in very formal poetic Hebrew, which doesn’t lend itself well to
direct translation. I have tried to keep both the meaning and
the feeling of this writing in translation, but any mistakes are
my own. T.
Establishing the Memorial on Mount Zion
By G-d’s grace we assemble today to honor
our families with the establishment of a memorial here in
Jerusalem, the holy city of all the generations.
Traditionally, each person that dies in the
world is given a separate gravestone, whereas here we erect one
gravestone for the whole community, parents, children, young and
old, just as they found their rest in one grave, a grave of
brothers. Traditionally, on the stone we engrave the
נ(pey.nun. – short
for po nikbar or po nitman, meaning "here lies").
meaning does not apply. This gravestone is far away from
our community, and this is not a natural thing, just as the
holocaust is not natural, not the way of the natural world.
But if this monument is remote from their place of burial, it is
close to their souls, for we know they aspired with all their
hearts and souls to the land of their forefathers and to
Jerusalem, the holy city. I am sure that in their last
days they raised their eyes to Eretz Israel, the desire of their
hearts, and were consoled because a bit of Israel remained with
them. Even Jews who are not able to live in Israel aspire
to be buried in her land at their death. And if this too
is impossible, their last request should be that someone
endeavor to place at least a small bag of the earth of Israel in
Bonds of love and holiness were not
destroyed and they link the community grave to this gravestone.
And our establishment of this gravestone perpetuates and
immortalizes their memory.
Today in G-d's name we establish this
monument, as in the Scroll of Esther. As in this period of the
Holocaust – so also then it was decreed that all should be
killed, that the light should be put out, all men, women and
children, on a specific day. And then this decree was canceled,
the cutting-off was reversed, and the despair transformed to
joy. In our day of despair the decree was carried out, to our
deep grief and searing pain.
In making this comparison, I want to show
you something wonderful in the Scroll of Esther, which
illuminates Israel’s relationship with its more powerful
neighbors. As is known, Esther stopped the execution of
the Jews on the thirteenth day of Adar, and this defeated the
enemies of the Jews. But although the day turned from
darkness to happiness for all the generations, we do not set
apart this day but the day after it – the 14th of
Adar. And the scroll says, “As the days wherein the Jews had
rest from their enemies.” From this we learn that the Jews
do not rejoice in the victory and the retaliation against their
enemies; they are only happy in that the victory allows them to
finish out their lives and to live in peace; only this is the
wish of the people Israel.
This gravestone will be the eternal
memorial of the community of Vladimirets, a community that knew
terror instead of peace in her years. And this stone will be
witness and memory of life to us too. And when those who
come from our city visit this place and read what is written on
the stone, they will remember the town of their birth – their
families, their relatives and friends who were killed by the
evil-doers – and shed a pure tear and commune with their sacred