Zara’s Holocaust Shirt
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Zara’s Holocaust Shirt
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Zara’s Holocaust Shirt

The fashion faux pas is offensive, but save your indignation and focus on more critical issues.

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What was Zara’s thinking? A Nazi-chic, concentration camp shirt with yellow Jewish star -- for your baby? This is supposed to be high fashion? Putting aside the anti-Semitic overtones for a moment, who would buy something so ugly?

To their credit, Zara’s immediately apologized and yanked the product from their stores after the Twitterverse went ballistic. A spokesperson for Zara’s parent company said, “The garment was inspired by the classic Western films, but we now recognize that the design could be seen as insensitive and apologize sincerely for any offence caused to our customers.”

A stupid mistake? Could be, but unlikely. Three Holocaust-related elements went into the design of this shirt: the six-point start of David, making the star yellow, and putting it on a striped shirt. No one noticed what it resembled?

The fashion faux pas is offensive, but save your outrage. This is not a battle worth fighting no matter how loud the blogosphere screams. In today’s instant messaging world, everything gets screamed aloud in order to have its one minute of spotlight. If everything demands our moral outrage, we become desensitized to the incidents that truly deserve our outrage. Suffering from Outrage Fatigue Syndrome, we tune out all the noise.

There are enough atrocious things going on in the world, and to the Jewish people that warrant our ire and involvement. It is a disservice to blow things out of proportion. Anti-Semitism around the world is bad enough; we do not need to inflate it by characterizing it as another Holocaust on our doorstep.

All the clatter can also obscure incidents that should truly alarm us. The disappearance and possible kidnapping of Aaron Sofer, an American yeshiva student learning in Jerusalem, who inexplicably went missing while hiking with his friend in the Jerusalem forest, is perhaps a case in point. It has galvanized the Orthodox hareidi world to unite in prayer around the world, and search parties in Jerusalem. But I do not get the sense that the same urgent response is being felt amongst all sectors in Israel and the Jewish world.

Just as the Jewish world united when Naftali, Eyal and Gilad were kidnapped, with everyone feeling that these were “our boys,” the entire Jewish world needs to feel the same way about Aaron Sofer. He is our son, our brother. We should be losing sleep. Perhaps the somewhat muted response is due to not knowing what has happened, but the fact of the matter is that a precious Jew is missing. Watch the video of Aaron’s parents (see below) and feel their pain. Imagine it was your son feared to be kidnapped by Arab terrorists.

The Zara Holocaust baby shirt is nuisance. Let’s direct our energies to doing what we can to help the Sofer family. That means praying for Aaron ben Chulda’s well-being (yes it does make a difference), and making an effort to get out of our pettiness and care about our fellow Jew, no matter what kippah he may or may not be wearing. We experienced that unity 50 days ago. Let’s come together again and may it be a merit for Aaron ben Chulda.

A SAD ADDENDUM

Seven hours after posting this article, the body of Aaron Sofer was found in the Jerusalem area of Ein Kerem. We are shocked and saddened by this terrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

Readers can express their condolences in the comment section below.

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Published: August 28, 2014


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Visitor Comments: 32

(30) Eliezra, September 2, 2014 12:16 AM

Sad, sad news... May Hashem comfort you and strenghten you, your family and all of am Israel

(29) Anonymous, September 1, 2014 2:04 AM

I understand and agree that we need to filter and concentrate on only truly meaningful things. That said, I think it was unfortunate and somewhat distasteful to put the Zara debacle alongside the Sofer tragedy, even to make a point. My heart goes out to the Sofer family on the loss of their precious son. HaMakom Yinachem Eschem BToch Shaar Avlei Tzion vYerushalayim.

(28) S Webbber, August 31, 2014 7:36 AM

So sorry to hear

My condolences to the family. I was so sorry to hear what happened to your beloved son. May Ha-Shem console you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may you know no more sorrow

(27) Rosabel, August 31, 2014 12:53 AM

Heartbreaking.

Love and Prayers to family. We pray to G*d that this beautiful child be granted Memory Eternal!

(26) Keith, UK, August 30, 2014 9:06 PM

To The Parents Of Young Aaron

My wife and I send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to G-d for you. Many years back we lost our first son as a stillbirth. The pain was horrendous for both of us.
We never knew David's personality, and I suppose that helped somewhat and as time has passed that pain has eased somewhat. I can really feel how the passing on of your dear Aaron has created so much pain and almost a feeling of unreality. Something so very hard to accept. Even though we are very much at a loss to fully understand why this has happened, G-d will give you the strength and courage to cope with such a painful time. He will comfort you both. His love knows no bounds and is endless. Aaron's soul is now safely in our Creator's hands. Nothing can harm him or alter that now.

G-d bless you both. My wife and I are praying for you.

Keith, UK

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