- It marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy
- It marked D-Day, the anniversary of the day on which the “Allies’ invaded Europe to end World War II
- It marked the end of Shloshim, for my friend and the man who had been President of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, Rabbi Aaron Panken z"l.
I must confess. I recently watched the movie Coco, and I immediately considered that perhaps without Memory those events and those people no-longer exist. Even in the “hereafter” whatever one’s concept of that might be, if people don’t remember, can’t say their ‘name,” in whatever form, then even their “life in the world to come” (to borrow a Jewish phrase) ends. I think it is another way of saying that our Memory is how meaningful lives continue in this world, through how we integrate their being into ours in some small way.
Consider June 6th, 2018. It commemorated an event of 74 years ago, an individual from 50 years ago, and a death just 30 days earlier. Yet they all needed to be remembered. Perhaps each for a different specific purpose:
We mark the end of Shloshim to enable us to move forward in our daily lives after suffering an existential loss. We ourselves must be able pick up our own aching soul and re-enter a world that is missing something significant for us. We are on a journey to find a new type of wholeness in what has become a very broken world. In a way it kicks us out the door to find our way.
We remember D-Day to be aware of and perhaps imagine the sacrifices we might have to make in response to a call to duty. Watching boats of young men heading to the Normandy beaches holds me in awe of what it takes to confront fears and to move forward when called to duty.
We remember Robert F Kennedy because of his growth into a man of vision, dreams and higher, noble causes. It isn’t his death I want to be reminded of, rather it is his vision and imagination for what might be if we too can act for a better world for all people.
June 6th 2018 I think helped me think of Memory as being about the future and not about the past. It is the lessons and inspiration of those experiences and perhaps most importantly of those people we loved that lead us to better futures.
Yes, Memory is not about the past. It is about the future.
Your donation will make it possible to offer this important experience to more of those who face The Actual Dance.