• Melissa W. Hunter

From the Archives: May 2, 2011

Updated: May 13

In just a couple of months, something I've been excited about for almost a year (well, actually, almost 20 years!) will become a reality! On October 8, 2019, my debut novel What She Lost will be released! For those of you who know me, this has been a labor of love ever since I sat down with my grandmother and recorded her story on a small 8mm video tape nearly 20 years ago. In the intervening years, I had two beautiful daughters and identified mostly as "Mom," a job I loved with every ounce of my being. My writing became more of a hobby, something I returned to in the free moments between carpools, playdates, homework, and PTO meetings. But my desire to record my family's history never faltered.


Eight years ago, when the manuscript for What She Lost was nothing more than a pile of chapters, I was asked to speak at our local JCC for Yom HaShoah. It was a moving experience, and one that I journaled about at the time. I can't believe it's been eight years since this presentation! I am happy to share my thoughts and video of the event below.


May 2, 2011

Yom HaShaoh: Day of Remembrance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4FqJTCXl48&feature=youtu.be


Today I participated in Yom HaShoah. I was extremely moved by the service that took place at our local JCC. It has been about 10 years since I last attended one of these services, a ceremony that commemorates the lives of those lost in the "Shoa," or Holocaust. The theme for this year was "The World That Was," a very moving and haunting program. Rescued photographs were displayed throughout of the many men, women, and children whose lives were lost, but whose faces (from the pictures) were vibrant and full of life. Every time I revisit my notes on my grandmother's life before the war, I am startled by how real her life was and how dynamic her family was, . . . ancestors of mine who perished before they even had a chance to live. Now that I am a mother with children of my own, I truly understand the importance of life, and how each day holds so much promise. This is what I am hoping to incorporate into my story . . . the everyday experiences, hopes, dreams, and ambitions of my grandmother's family, those who lost their lives so abruptly and yet were such real people. It is also worth mentioning that one of the most moving moments for me came before the actual service, when, as a guest speaker, I was given a yellow Jewish star to pin to my chest. This was once a mark to identify the Jews who were ostracized by the Nazi's, but to me it has always been a symbol of pride. Indeed, when I wore the star, I felt that pride. I felt it in seeing the star on the Israeli flag. I feel it when my husband, daughters, and I light the candles on Shabbat. I feel it when I wear my Star of David on the thin gold chain around my neck. It is a symbol of my history, culture, and identity.





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