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Post October 7th: A Conversation between Israel and American Second Generation Holocaust Survivors (2G)

The events of October 7th and the aftermath have shaken the Jewish community around the world as well as the State of Israel. Most Holocaust descendent families, wherever they may be, harbor very profound feelings about these events. Given the tragic history of their parents and the overwhelming support and connection most feel for the existence and security of Israel, second generation individuals have much to share and explore around these events and how they may strengthen their bonds at this difficult time.

On February 25, 2024, a very special event, perhaps a first of its kind, took place virtually between 66 second generation individuals in Washington, D.C. and Israel. The event was co-sponsored by two 2G organizations, the Generations After organization in Washington, D.C. and the Dorot Hahemshech, the Next Generation Group in Israel. The planning committee sought to maximize face to face conversation between the Israelis and Americans, and as such, devoted most of the event to discussion in breakout groups led by facilitators (which I was one of). The facilitators summed up the many different thoughts and feelings expressed by the participants, but one thing was common to all: “We are two parts of one family- one in Israel and the other in the US- but our hearts, minds and souls are joined together”. It is clear that such a meeting as this has been a long time in coming.

Jewish tradition teaches not to sit idly by when our neighbor is in danger. As children of Holocaust survivors who carry the legacy of their parts, 2G seek to bond together to fight antisemitism, uphold the security of Israel and bring about Tikkun Olam, the repair of the world. Future events are planned to deepen the connection- two parts of the same family, who carry the same fate and move to build hope into the future- "Am Yisrael Chai", as the Hebrew saying goes, "The People of Israel Shall Live."

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