today (27 Jan) is International Holocaust Memorial Day, so I've compiled a list of charities you can donate to which help to preserve European Jewish culture as well as supporting living Jewish communities, especially in Eastern Europe, as a way to honour victims of the Holocaust both by preserving their memory and by supporting the European Jewish communities that the Nazis aimed to destroy.
- YIVO [Link] ; founded in Vilne, Lithuania in 1925 and now based in New York, is one of the largest organisations for the preservation and education of Yiddish, as well as hosting the largest archive of Eastern European Jewish materials (23 million items) - including many which were rescued from Nazi book-burning by Jewish resistance. It is the ONLY prewar Jewish library and archive to have survived the Holocaust.
- World Jewish Relief [Link], formed during the Holocaust by the UK Jewish community to aid the evacuation of German Jews. The majority of their modern day work focuses on aiding vulnerable Jewish communities in Eastern Europe. They also provide aid to refugees, disabled and elderly people, and respond to international disasters across the world.
- The Yiddish Book Centre [Link] hosts an online archive of hundreds of digitised Yiddish books (many with translations), as well as a video oral history archive with 1000+ Jewish people of all ages and backgrounds telling their own stories, many in Yiddish (with subtitles). They also train new Yiddish translators and run lectures, education programs, film screenings, music festivals, and the world's first Yiddish museum.
- The Together Plan [Link] supports post-Soviet Jewish communities, especially in Belarus due to the current instability there. As well as supporting Jewish communities with aid, education, and community building; they also record and translate Holocaust testimonies, preserve Jewish graveyards, and run education on Jewish Belarus.
- The European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative [Link] works to preserve and restore Jewish cemeteries, particularly in countries whose Jewish populations were decimated by the Holocaust, which left cemeteries to be vandalised and fall into decay. This is an important act in honouring the dignity of the dead, as well as witnessing and preserving the presence of lost European Jewish life.
If you have no money to spare, consider spending some time browsing the testimony and history hosted on YIVO and the Yiddish Book Centre as an act of memorial instead.
[IMG ID: two deltarune drawings image one is of Susie, Kris, Ralsei from Deltarune. They're all hanging out together in the Cyber world laughing and having fun. Everyone is dressed in more detailed versions of their in game outfits. Susie is pointing at herself and Kris is pointing at her. Ralsei is talking with his hands. Image two is a fullbody image of Kris and Susie from Deltarune. They are both dressed in stylized band tees with Kris wearing a 'Falling in Reverse' shirt with a bat on it, and Susie in a 'Pierce the Veil' shirt with a dinosaur breaking through a wall. Kris is also wearing a vocaloid belt clipped to their pants and Susie has a 'Sleeping with Sirens' belt. Neither of them have their shoes tied. /END ID]
tbh for a long time i really resented the advice "pick a partner that you would want to raise kids with" because i don't want kids and i hated that all relationships had to come from this place of procreation-first. what about toxic friendships, after all.
it took me a really long time to realize it's a bastardization of good advice.
many of us are recovering from being raised by parents/caregivers that were in toxic relationships or were toxic themselves. we learned behaviors, thoughts, and patterns from these people, and we spend our adult lives untangling and dismantling the harm done to us.
the advice should be - is this the person you'd want a child to emulate? is this a person you'd want a child even around? is this a person you can trust alone with a kid - any kid, mind you - and know that the child is safe, looked after, loved? is the relationship you're in one you'd want children to see and repeat in their adult lives? or is the relationship one you hope they won't follow, after all?
to be honest, i knew when i was in a bad relationship. i'd tell people - i know, i know, i should break up with him. i know, i know. she's not actually a good friend. but the reality was that it's incredibly difficult to escape the-devil-you-know. it was easy enough to train myself to be okay with it; i have very little regard for the-self and the process of cutting people out was simply too threatening for my mental state.
but i wouldn't put a younger version of myself through the same thing. i'd picture her in the same situation. i would tell her, broody as she is - leave, you're happier outside of it, never let anyone talk to you like that, you're worth more than this. i'd tell her when you let him cross your boundaries, the fault is his, but you need to understand you're rewarding bad behavior if you don't do something about it. i would wish, fervently, i could restart the relationship and do it all differently, be-young-again.
and then i realized: i am the younger version of myself. a future version of myself is begging me to leave. to take my happiness seriously. i am a kid to fifty-year-old-me. and i need to take my own advice. it's okay if that sets me up to grieve.
pick a partner that you would trust a younger version of yourself with. pick friends you'd want your younger self to grow up alongside. pick love that makes you feel like you want everyone to experience in their life and feel with others, something magical and shareable and full of mist. pick a love that feels like you can grow in it. pick a love like: i will be proud of this.