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    Fathers & grandfathers – Ha’azinu

    father son boy“Ask your father and he will tell you, your grandfathers and they will inform you” (Deut. 32:7).

    Parents and grandparents cherish the memories and have to be consulted like history books.

    Problem: what happens when they are dead? Will the tradition and memory disappear for lack of a human repository?

    Many – most – of us have been through that moment, berating ourselves over all the questions we should have asked, the information we should have gained, the memories we should have made our own.

    Maybe your experience was like mine. When I was young I didn’t want to listen (“Dad and his stories!”) but when our parents died we had no-one to turn to.

    It’s more than the problem of previous centuries because Jews have been through so many traumas in the last century or so and so much information has been lost.

    I was reminded of this recently when I attended the international Jewish genealogical conference in Jerusalem and saw that even the technological facilities we now have are unable to answer all our questions. A lot has to be left to intuition or guesswork, but important as both exercises are, they have their limitations.

    We will of course continue to battle for the facts, but as far as the future is concerned let’s make sure that our own memories are recorded and our children possess and cherish them.

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