This year we have the unique confluence of Taanis Esther occurring before Parshas Zachor. Grasping the significant symbolism of this year’s calendar – where we recite Avinu Malkeinu at Mincha before we are given the directive to “Never forget what Amaleik has done to us!” – Dr. Joseph Geliebter, founder of the acclaimed Yizkereim annual program, has seized this meaningful occasion and developed a special mincha-time program for shuls across the country.
Driven by the unsettling reality of the diminishing number of Survivors, he wants to assure that their history and lesson of survival are not forgotten before the final note of ne’ilah is sounded. The “Zachor . . Lo Tishkach!” program to take place at Mincha on Taanis Esther will honor the congregation’s Holocaust Survivors with the recitation of the the four Avinu Malkeinu’s from “Asei l’maan harugim al shem kadshecha” to “Nekom l’eineinu nikmas dam avadechu hashafuch”. Upon concluding Avinu Malkeinu, six Yizkor candles in memory of the six million Kedoshim will be lit by offspring of survivors, to be followed by Kaddish. Background profiles of shul Survivors will be distributed and shared with the kehilla.
In conjunction with this special Mincha program, shuls will be showing “Strike on Heaven” – the newest 32-minute Yizkereim documentary produced jointly by Torah Umesorah’s Zechor Yemos Olam program and Rabbi Leib Geliebter Memorial Foundation. This highly compelling and poignant documentary, written and narrated by Rabbi Shmuel Yaakov Klein, Director of Zechor Yemos Olam, was recently shown in 350 schools on Asara B’Teves. “Strike on Heaven” exposes the Third Reich’s war on yiddishkeit and powerfully showcases the Jewish people’s unwavering commitment to Torah. The film ends on an uplifting note with the rebuilding of Yiddishkeit around the world and in Eretz Yisrael.
As Dr. Geliebter so succinctly averred, “This year we are zocheh to two Adars and the double layers of blessings of Marbim b’Simcha that accompany them. May we merit to celebrate this Purim together with the Survivors in our midst, infusing it with an elevated element of Simcha, just as we beseech Hashem in Tehilim (90:15) “Samcheinu Kimos inisanu shnos rainu ra’ah” – “[HaShem] bless us with Simcha (joy) whose intensity matches the intensity of our suffering in the difficult years.”