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Sunday, 25 January 2015

70 Essays Over 70 Days for 70 Years

70 Days For 70 YearsThe figure ‘seventy’ has great resonance in Jewish tradition:

  • Psalm 90 suggests 70 years are the span of a person’s life.
  • Seventy people went  to Egypt to begin the Hebrews’ period in  Egyptian exile and slavery (Genesis 46:27).
  • There is supposed to be a core of 70 nations and 70 world languages, paralleling the 70 names in the Table of Nations.
  • There were 70 men in the Great Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court of ancient Israel. (Sanhedrin 1:4).
  • The Aggada (collection of rabbinic homilies) states there are 70 ‘faces" to the Torah (Numbers Rabbah 13:15).
  • Seventy elders were assembled by Moses on God's command in the desert (Numbers 11:16-30)

Now the United Synagogue of Great Britain is marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp with the publication of a book of 70 essays, each to be read over 70 days in memory of a Holocaust victim. The U.S. project is intended to engage a worldwide audience ”in an uplifting educational and memorial programme”.

Participants will receive both a copy of the book and a memorial card with information of the Holocaust victim in whose memory they  will study. The victims’ details are provided by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Central Database of Victims’ Names.

The collection is opened by former UK Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks with an essay, Surviving Exile in which he describes how the Jewish people has escaped extinction.

Full details of participation and book purchase are available at:

© Natalie Wood (25 January 2015)

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