Numbers count

Numbers count

This is a fact of life. In politics, numbers count.

Politicians are more likely to support popular causes, the kinds that draw crowds, than the ones that draw few people or none at all.

Numbers count for the media, as well. Well-attended events are more likely to attract media coverage than events that lack crowds.

This is also a fact of life: As Jews, we must keep the memory of the Shoah, the Holocaust, alive. And we must keep the notion of American support for Israel alive.

We will fail at both missions if we stay away from events commemorating Yom Hashoah or the annual Salute to Israel Parade, which this year is on Sunday, June 2.

As we noted in an editorial some weeks ago, the numbers of people attending Yom Hashoah commemorations has been waning in our area. The comment most often heard is “enough with the Holocaust; let’s emphasize the positive.”

There can never be “enough with the Holocaust.” The torturous death of one and a half million children and four and a half million adults for the sole reason that they were Jewish is not something we can ever allow the world to forget. And, of course, the death total is even higher, as also noted in that earlier editorial: somewhere between 15 million and 20 million people in all. The others have no advocates. But for our annual observance of his day, the United Nations never would have included a World Holocaust Day. There likely never would have been a United States Holocaust Museum and Memorial. And by now, the Shoah would have been looked at as an aberration.

There are a number of Shoah commemorations in our area. Local synagogues sponsor their own observances (or should). The Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey sponsors its own. It will begin at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 7, at the Jewish Community Center of Paramus. At 7:30 p.m. that Sunday, the JCC on the Palisades has its own Yom Hashoah program. Various towns in our area also sponsor similar events.

We need to be there for one or more of these commemorations. We dare not allow the numbers to keep dropping, because we dare not allow the outside world to argue that if the Shoah is no longer important to Jews, it surely is of no concern of theirs.

And on June 2, we need to be along the parade route on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. Regardless of where we stand on the peace process, we all stand with the State of Israel. Thinning crowds will be misinterpreted.