Modern research has provided a wealth of information on the once-mysterious field of human memory. Memory is often researched as a cognitive capacity or ability, in the manner of memorizing words or flashcards, but that often tries to bypass a fundamental part of studying the human mind: that we are a product of our experiences, and the way we assimilate them into our minds. Some researchers like Dr. Azi Grysman are approaching this complication head-on, fully acknowledging that no two humans are ever the same. How do our memories form our sense of self, and can we ever analyze the self, or is it special and irreducible? Judaism has a particularly strong emphasis on collective remembering, and here Dr. Azi Grysman discusses the basics of how memory intertwines with identity.
(This post is part of Sinai and Synapses’ project Scientists in Synagogues, a grass-roots program to offer Jews opportunities to explore the most interesting and pressing questions surrounding Judaism and science. As part of the program, Dr. Azi Grysman led a series of talks and classes on this topic at B’nai Israel Congregation in Baltimore, MD, bringing a Jewish perspective to the science of memory. This session was recorded on January 25, 2021).Read Transcript
I wanted to just give a very brief outline of the plan for the four-part course, just so that we can situate today’s class together. So I would say that as far as the Jewish component of the Jewish memory piece, today’s class is probably going to have the least amount of Jewish content, because I want to kind of ground the discussions in my area of memory research, though there will certainly be opportunity for overlap. And the next session, in a couple weeks, we’re going to do some hands-on spiritual writing. And then after that, in the last two sessions, we’ll be talking about things like Yizkor and Yom Ha’Shoah and Pesach, and there will be much more directly, obviously Jewish content.
So I wanted to start by doing a couple of different opening activities. I don’t know people’s backgrounds in terms of whether you’ve studied psychology or not, so I thought I would just start it off with a couple of brief demonstrations. And I am going to ask for audience participation here. So what I’m going to do is: I’m going to read a list of words, I’m going to read it relatively quickly so that you can’t memorize all of it, and what I would like you to do is – if you could grab a pen or a pencil and a piece of paper, that would be especially helpful. And then when I say “go,” at the end of the list, I’ll invite you to write down everything that you remember, all the words that you remember off the list. So it’s a pretty simple memory task – we do them all the time in memory science. I’m going to read a bunch of words and ask you what you remember off of it. This is a method that has been tweaked and used in all kinds of different formats, so if people are ready, I’ll go ahead. So here’s the list: “Butter, food, eat, sandwich, rye, jam, milk, flour, jelly, dough, crust, slice, wine, toast.”
So if you could now go ahead and write down all the words that you remember off that list – it’s not a test where I’m screening you for anything here, don’t worry about that. And I’m going to read a second list. Now, the list goes as follows, same rules: “Drive, street, tire, steering, wheel, bus, driver’s license, petrol, Porsche, motor, accident, exhaust, horn, traffic, light, refuel.”
So write down all the words you remember off that second list. So here’s the point in time, when I’m teaching this in my class, when I start to ask students, “Okay, who here remembered 10 words or more?” And they remember nine or eight or seven, and everybody raises their hand, and some people, you know, are all like, “Wow, how do they remember 11 words?” or somebody feels embarrassed for only remembering three words. And then I tell them: “Don’t worry, it’s not predictive of anything.” And generally people will, on average, remember maybe seven, eight words off of this list. And that’s not really my focus here.
What I wanted to ask is: who remembered the word “bread”? So can I see a show of hands, who remembered the word “bread” off the first list? Four? So I’m seeing six hands, but I’m also only seeing video from about 10 people. So we’ve got about six people remembering the word “bread.” And great, thanks to the people who are using the raised-hand function. And who remembered the word “car”? Great, so lots of hands.
If I was in the classroom, I would really carefully count the numbers, but what I want to emphasize here is that “bread” and “car” were not on those lists, right. Neither “bread” nor “car” was on the list that I read to you. And this is an important finding in cognitive psychology, not just because it makes for fun classroom demonstrations. This is known as the DRM effect, which is just named after the authors, who you don’t really need to know. And it demonstrates to us something important. It demonstrates, in a very, very trivial way, that we can be led to believe that we remember something that did not, in fact, happen. And a lot of the science of memory has been devoted to trying to see how far we can stretch that, going as far as convincing college students that they had been lost in a shopping mall when they were teenagers, or when they were four-year-olds, or convincing somebody that they spilled punch on the bride’s mother at a wedding when they were a kid, or convincing adults that they had gone on hot air balloon rides when they were children.
And the emphasis that I want to bring here is that memories are not entirely accurate. Okay, we probably knew that, but I want to push this a little bit farther to say that memories are not supposed to be accurate.
And so what I would like to do, before really getting to that, is to walk through one more demonstration. And this one is a little bit less kitschy. What I would like you to do, on that paper that you have in front of you, to draw yourself a “life line.” I want you to draw a line across the paper – you can flip it whichever way you want – that starts in the beginning, however you want to define that, and ends now, in your life. And I want you to draw a line that connects from the beginning to now, but the position of that line on this screen represents the positivity or negativity of the time periods in your life.
And so what I’m asking you to do is to draw a line where, when it gets higher, it represents “more positive,” and lower, it represents “more negative.” So in this example here, you’ve got increased positivity, relative stability, and then a big drop and a big rise. You can think of whatever pattern, whatever time scale you want. It could be, you know – there’s no judgment of how you’re making choices. And I’m not going to be collecting these.
So take a moment and try to identify the pivot points, try to identify what happened over here, when things went from bad to good, or what happened over here, when things went from good to bad. And so I’ll ask you to just take a couple minutes now, and to draw those out for yourselves. You don’t have to write it, you can just know for yourself, and I’ll be quiet now and let you do this.
So I’m not going to ask people to share these just yet, and I will come to a point later where there might be an opportunity to share, but I am going to refer back to this exercise as we go forward. So these pivot points – we call them “turning points” in my research world. It’s a point that you can identify in your life where something happened that you identify this as something that has changed the trajectory of your life, something potentially that changed something integral in your sense of self. People will often identify physical moves, like moving from one place to another, a big career change, a relationship change. Some people will even pinpoint an illness diagnosis, the loss of a loved one, or even something like, “I was walking in the supermarket, and I realized that I’m not happy and I need to change.” So there are external things that can cause it, there are internal things that can cause it. And what I look to do in my own work, is to get from the types of experiments that read word lists and have people report them back to you, to a deeper understanding of our own sense of self and our own life.
And if you want to get a sense of the concept of memory as it is defined nowadays in modern society, you have to go back to the work of Hermann Ebbinghaus. Now, Hermann Ebbinghaus was a German scientist who believed that psychology – or, he was really pre-psychology – but that a science of the mind would need to look something like chemistry. And so he started with this sense that memory is conceived of in terms of “how much”; it’s quantitative. And what you need to do in order to start studying memory, because nobody had really, aside from the Greek mnemonists who had figured out ways to memorize lots of things, but nobody had studied it as a formal science – you needed to strip memory of all potential meaningful information. And so what he did was, he created lists upon lists of nonsense syllables, three-letter combinations, four-letter combinations. Sometimes they had a vowel in the middle, sometimes they had a consonant in the middle. He tried as best as he could to create thousands upon thousands of nonsense syllables. He then went to Paris and tried to memorize them. And he did all kinds of different experiments – how many he could recall, how quickly it would take him to relearn them once he had learned it once and forgotten, how long his memory lasted, so what happened, if he tested himself after one day, or two days or a week or a month.
And common, similar Ebbinghaus-style tests now exist, like digit span, right. So I’m going to repeat five-number combinations, and then six-number combinations, and then seven and then eight, until you can’t remember them. Or decks of cards, as you might have read about in Moonwalking With Einstein, which is a New York Times bestseller on the Memory Olympics – something that, if you think it’s boring, wait till you see the instant replays – and things like word lists.
So this all comes from a pattern of conceptualizing memory, on the level of how much can we recall – how much, how fast, how accurate, what can we do in that regard? And the guidance of Ebbinghaus, just to emphasize this, is to say that just like a chemist has to isolate whatever element they’re interested in into its purest form in order to study it, the psychologist should isolate memory into its purest form. And because different people have different life experiences – which means that when I was reading that first word list and I got to the word “Porsche,” some of you who either have Porsches, or grew up watching them driving down the street and marveling, versus the others of you who couldn’t care less for car companies. You might have remembered that word differently, right. Those of you who really like rye bread might have remembered “rye” better than “toast.” And Ebbinghaus said, “That’s not acceptable, we have to get rid of individual differences and individual life experiences in order to have a scientific study of memory.”
And so this chemical analogy leads to what I want to identify as an approach that looks at memory in terms of “What does it do?”, right – how much, how fast, right, how much can we remember, and how quickly can we retrieve those memories, right? There are studies out there,that show that “This group retrieves in 400 milliseconds,” and “That group who’s being distracted retrieves in 700 milliseconds.” Well, we consider that a meaningful difference in the science of memory. But why? Why is a 300-millisecond difference meaningful? And the big criticism that has been leveled against this Ebbinghaus approach of emphasizing how much we remember is that who said that’s what memory is for, right? We all know that memory is useful to us in terms of how much we remember, but it’s like – to use an analogy – looking at a three-hole punch and saying “This is going to be a great paperweight, and I can make confetti out of this to play with my kids,” right. It’s not what a three-hole punch is meant to do.
And so when we look at from a scientific point of view – when we say “What is something for?”, we’re always looking at it with an evolutionary bent. But I’m not going to go into evolutionary evidence today, but simply use it as a guiding principle that says that if I want to understand memory, it’s not enough to show what it is that memory can do. I need to be able to show why that matters. I need to be able to think about what memory is intended for, what is it meant for, and use that to guide how I’m going to study it.
And so I want to use another dichotomy to try to get a better sense of why I think this matters. And this is to think of two different definitions of memory. We can define memory as “something happened,” or we can define memory as “my experience of something that happened.” And so your experience was that you heard me say the word “bread,” even though I didn’t, right. Now, some of us would say “You’re wrong,” right, “That’s your memory being inaccurate,” but to think of memory as a tool that just doesn’t work part of the time is less interesting than it is to think of memory as a tool that makes these errors in predictable and understandable ways. And so the way I understand that memory error is that you are more interested in making connections than you are in getting it 100% right. You’re more interested in seeing the links between different parts of a chain, because frankly, that’s one of the things that our species has excelled at, than you are in getting absolutely everything 100% right all the time.
And I want you to think back to those turning points that you drew on that lifeline, right. Did you see them as turning points as they were happening? Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. But even in the times when you did see them as turning points, you’re probably looking at them now in a very different way than you did as they were happening, right. I think back to the birth of my first child, and I say, “Well, of course that was a turning point,” and I knew it was a turning point as it was happening, but it sure felt a lot different when you’re in that moment, than when you’re looking back and reflecting with the benefit of hindsight and perspective.
So the question, then, that I want to turn to you – you might be saying “Well, okay isn’t this just a semantic distinction?”, right. Am I telling us anything unique, or am I just using the term “memory” slightly differently? And I’ll say that the way we use this term influences how we think about it. And so of course, if you’re in the courtroom, this is going to have very different implications. But I want to see those turning points in my life differently. I want to be influenced by my life experiences. I don’t want that event that happened in my past to stay static and stay in the past. I want that to be something dynamic that grows with me as I grow, that as I gain new perspectives in my life, I can also look back and gain new perspectives on my past, and as a mechanism, a memory that is more flexible, more open to changing and updating, is going to be a much more useful memory mechanism. And so when I think of memory, I don’t like to think in terms like “how much” or “how fast,” but I like to think in terms of just “how,” right. Let me just observe and appreciate the ways that memory comes to evolve and adapt throughout our lives.
Another side of this is that, as our science has progressed, we’ve become quite enamored with the types of things that we can see using modern technologies of brain imaging. So brain imaging is a fascinating development over the last 100 years, and much more in the last 30 years or so. We’ve become able, using advanced technology and advanced statistics, to be able to see inside the brain, literally, and see which parts of the brain are active when a person is engaging in an activity. And it has helped us to identify certain parts of the brain as linked to certain behaviors and certain activities.
So here’s an example that I have on screen: this is the called the fusiform face area. We’re looking at the brain from below. So a person’s eyes would be over here, pointing upwards on the screen, and the fusiform face area has been identified, that when you are looking at faces this part of your brain is active. I think it’s also when you’re thinking about faces. And it has very clearly been identified – they’ve even found certain individuals, a Bill Clinton cell, a Steve Carell cell, and I’m sure they’ll come up with more and more current faces.
And here’s another example. They put highly experienced meditators in a brain scanner – people with a certain amount of meditation practice. Buddhist meditation is all about focusing the mind so that the mind doesn’t wander, right, letting the mind wander and then pulling it back. This is known as mindfulness meditation, amongst other different traditions. And they have identified something that is called the “default mode network,” which is this part of the brain over here, and this part of the brain over here. Looking at it from the side, these two regions called by their technical names down here, these two regions are active when the mind is wandering. And in fact, experienced meditators show less activity in this part of their brains, right, when they are meditating, versus novice meditators. The novice meditators will show more activity in the part of their brain that is known to be active when the mind is wandering.
It’s pretty fascinating stuff. It’s pretty amazing how you can take this big concept like mind wandering and meditation practice, and put it all together in a way that really gives us a coherent picture in the brain. And if not that, this image that we can all look to, and say “Wow, this is the part of the brain that’s lighting up.”
And I don’t want to take away from the dramatic achievement that this is, but it lures us into this false sense that anything mental can be pinpointed as something very specific in the brain something that we can really reduce to – it’s back to that chemical analogy, right. We’re just going to reduce and reduce and reduce, until we can say, “The experience of x is right there,” “The experience of y is right there.” And those of you with a bit of a historical mindset might understand that there are reverberations there with phrenology, where they used to measure somebody’s skull to figure out if they were a criminal or not, back in the 1800’s.
So the problem with memory is that this is what a memory looks like in the scanner. It’s everywhere, it’s all over the brain. Memory is a whole-brain activity. And those of you who have a bit of a science or psychology or neurology background and are thinking, “Well, what about the hippocampus which is a part of the brain devoted to storing memories?” It is only active once when a memory is being stored, and for about a year or two afterwards, and after that the memory disperses into the brain. It’s not lost, it’s just stored in a different place. And so we want we want to look at these very simple, straightforward brain studies and say “Look, it’s clear, everything is there – it can be understood, it can be simplified,” but in actual fact, some problems are far more complex.
And so what it means – that a memory is not located in a particular part of the brain, [where] it can be reached back to and retrieved whole-cloth – is that memory is a construction; memory is something that we call actively constructed. And when you recall an event in your life, some of it, right – which, what you’re doing in your brain when you recall an event is reactivating the part of your brain that was active when you were experiencing that event – okay, when you bring back a memory, when you call it to mind – like right now, think of yourself eating breakfast, this morning, right. You are recreating that experience, you’re sitting at the table, you’ve got your spoon and your bowl, there, you know what you’re wearing, right. Those are all you reactivating the part of your brain that was active this morning. But your brain has changed so much since that important turning point in your life. Your brain has changed so much since that childhood experience that comes back to you with the same sense of vividness as something that you experienced last week, right? Only for some events, but certain important events in your life, they know you’re not going to be able to convince me that your brain hasn’t changed since you were eight years old, right? And I hope that you’re not going to make that assumption.
And so part of recalling a memory includes filling in the gaps from what was originally experienced, and how it is that you are currently experiencing it. And so I want to just kind of pause there and emphasize that. Now, just give me one second. I’m thinking, you know, my goal today is to lay down some foundations that we will then connect to our Jewish lives in a substantive way. And I want to just emphasize this piece that memory is not just about bringing something that had existed into where your mind is now, but it’s about forming a representation of that, that includes filling in the pieces. And I’m not saying that to disturb people; I’m not saying that to call all of your life memories into question, but I am saying that there’s a certain amount of kind of fancy footwork that your mind is doing when you’re bringing a memory to mind, when you’re recalling it. And so we’ve got lots of long-standing evidence that memories are constructions in this way. I’m not going to get into it right now.
I guess I’m just going to pause here if there are are questions that people want me to address before I move forward.
Rabbi Etan Mintz: I have a question, actually, and I know it’s a little bit premature, Dr. Grysman – it’s all very fascinating, it might be a question that we’re all thinking to some degree, also. But can you give us a little bit of a teaser about how you would tie this into our notion of Jewish memory? And we’re going to get much deeper into this in the second and third and fourth lectures. The second lecture is on Monday, February 8th, about small-group spiritual writing and an auto-biographical memory workshop, and then on March 15th, about Yizkor and Passover, and a session for Yom Ha’Shoah on April 8th. But I’m wondering, with all this science, and given the context of Sinai and Synapses, maybe just a teaser – one example or something about how this relates to our topic at hand.
Dr. Azi Grysman: Sure. So I think that for me, the most obvious, the most apparent, the place where I see it the most, is in Seder Night. Because what we’re doing in Seder Night is we are trying to create an experience. And we have that line in the Seder that says that “Every person at the seder should view themselves as if you were the one who left Egypt,” right. There’s even a custom amongst Sephardic Jews to get dressed up into clothing – they dress up in, robes and headscarves, and pull sacks over their backs. And it’s an attempt to recreate – it’s an attempt to take this event and say, “This event is so integral to the experience of being Jewish that we are going to act as if we experienced that original event.” So it’s an attempt to, in a sense, manufacture a memory, or to take the texts that we have learned and make them experiential, so that, in our brains, they are represented in a different way, or in a way that is more similar to memory.
Rabbi Etan Mintz: Great, excellent, that’s very helpful, thank you.
Dr. Azi Grysman: So I guess if there aren’t pressing questions yet, I’ll go forward with this notion of memory as being an active construction. And what I’ll do is I’ll connect this to perception. And a lot of schools teach memory and perception together. They’re similar, related topics, they’re considered different parts of mental processing – the line between perception and memory is kind of blurry. And one of the things that I emphasize to my students is that when we perceive, when we see an image, when we hear an image, our brains are kind of doctoring that image, from the moment it’s in our eyes, from the moment it’s in our ears, using shortcuts to help it get into the brain in the way that is most useful. And you know, we smooth edges, right. We have cells in our brain that enhance contrasts so that we can see edges more clearly, so that we don’t bump into walls and fall off cliffs. And what I say to my students is “We are not passive receivers of reality.” Reality doesn’t happen and we sit there observing it. We are actively constructing our realities.
So let me bring you an example: so I have an image here, this is an image from a 1967 study of people with what is called “split brains,” okay. So these are individuals, there is a surgery – it’s very rare – it’s a surgery for people who have severe seizure disorders. Seizures are characterized by lots of activity around the brain, right. When a person is having a seizure, the neurons in their brain are firing back and forth and back and forth in an uncontrolled way, which is the cause of the seizure. And there is a big chain of neurons, right – neuron is the word for a brain cell – there’s a big chain of neurons that connects the right and the left side of the brain. The right and the left sides of the brain are mostly distinct, there’s a lot of things that happen in both, and there’s constant communication between them. But what some scientists decided to do was that these seizures were so severe, they said “What happens if we cut the brain in half?” So they took this chain of neurons that runs along the underside of the cortex, they severed it so that the right and the left hemispheres would not be able to communicate with each other. And what happened was that these people had surprisingly few cognitive deficits, but what they found was – this taught us a lot about how the right and the left hemispheres of the brains are different.
So this is an example. One of the most important things that they learned is that our speech, our ability to produce speech in most people, is primarily located in the left hemisphere, the left side of the brain. And the left side of the brain happens to control the right side of the body. So those are the things that you need to know. If you raise your [right] hand, it’s because something’s going on in the left side of your brain. If you feel something in your [right] hand, it’s because something’s going on in the left side of your brain, right. This is the split between right and left hemispheres.
So what they found was if they projected two images on screen to a person and they said, “Point with your hands to the image that corresponds to what you see on screen” – the left side. So the left sees the right – I’m going to oversimplify this. The person’s right hand, which is corresponding to what’s on the right because it’s going to their left part of the brain, points to the rooster, and their left hand, which is controlled by the right brain, points to the shovel. And they asked the person in the study “Why did you do that?” and he said, “Well, there’s a picture of a chicken claw, so I pointed to the rooster.” Because the person’s speech abilities are located in the left side of their brain, so they can only talk about the parts that they’re experiencing in the left, and that their right hand is pointing to.
So then the obvious question was: why the shovel? So the person looks down, they see their hand pointing to the shovel, right. We know they saw a snowstorm, they picked a shovel, right. He says “to clean out the chicken coop,” right, because the left side of the brain doesn’t have access to the part of the brain that can see the snow storm. And so what is this person doing? This person is predicting, this person is trying to make sense, this person is taking the only input that they have. – all they know are three facts: they can see a chicken claw, they’re pointing to a rooster, or a chicken, whatever, and they’re also pointing to a shovel. So the only thing that makes sense to that person is to suggest that the shovel must have something to do with the chicken.
So interestingly, they don’t say “I don’t know.” Something I’ve been accused of, right, some of us, we don’t ask for directions, right. So the person doesn’t say “I don’t know,” instead they try to make sense, they try to make meaning, because what the brain is good at is prediction. What the human body and brain is really, really good at is prediction. We grow when we have an experience of lifting 100 pounds in the gym. We grow our muscles, because if we’re going to have to lift 100 pounds, we might have to lift 110 pounds. The body has to get ready, and the the body has gotten very good, and the brain has gotten very good, at predicting it using information to anticipate that. It’s the reason why we have gone to every different ecosystem on the planet, or almost every.
So just like in this example, the person’s prediction is playing a very active role in perception. The brain is also often playing a very active role in memory. So in other words, memory is not about storage, it’s not about giving a good replication of what it is that happened. Memory is about meaning. Memory is exactly that thing that Ebbinghaus was trying to get rid of. And one of the things that I argue in my field is that you can’t understand memory if you simplify it to its pure core of meaningless information. If you do, you’re definitely doing something that’s similar to memory, but memory in and of itself is a meaning-making process. That meaning-making process is what led you to misremember the word “bread,” and 40 people pick the word “bread” off that list on which the word “bread” was not there. And people only, on average, get about 50% of the words right to begin with, right. They only get about half the words that were on the list. And that sense of meaning is what memory is all about. And if you want to have a serious scientific conversation about memory, you need to consider meaning in that process.
So I’m just going to share one last time, when I asked you to do the turning point activity, I want to emphasize that meaning in a given context of memorizing off a word list is one thing, right. It’s a very limited sense of meaning. It’s just how words are related to each other. But we’re always making meaning in terms of ourselves, right. We are always having this experience of “Who am I?” “Who do I identify as?”, right. I’m a Jew, I’m a scientist, I’m a father, I’m a cousin, a husband, a child, I’m all of these things, right. I have a sense of what my values are, what’s important to me in my life. And whenever I experience something, I interpret it through the lens of that selfhood, if it’s relevant, right. If I’m just, you know, learning a statistical theorem, then maybe it’s not relevant to my sense of self. Although if I’m a statistician, maybe it is, right. So when we have a turning point, we see that: why is that turning point so important? Why does that stick in our memory? Because that’s when the sense of self shifts. That’s when the question of “Who am I?” takes a turn and that therefore becomes relevant.
So I’ll leave you with a quote here – well, I’ll open the floor to questions with a quote. And the quote comes from Jonathan Safran Foer, who I’m just realizing now I’ve quoted two brothers in the same talk the the author of Moonwalking With Einstein and the author of Everything Is Illuminated. Jonathan Safran Foer, wrote a book, Everything is Illuminated – I don’t know, 20 years ago – and in it he wrote this – he’s talking about a character, a Jewish character in his story:
“Jews have six senses: Touch, taste, sight, smell, hearing, and memory. While Gentiles experience and process the world through the traditional senses and use memory only as a second-order means of interpreting events, for Jews memory is no less primary than the prick of a pin or its silver glimmer, or the taste of blood as it pulls from the finger. The Jew is pricked by a pin and remembers other pins. It is only by tracing the pinprick back to other pin pricks – when his mother tried to fix his sleeve while his arm was still in it, when his grandfather’s fingers fell asleep from stroking his great-grandfather’s damp forehead, when Abraham tested the knife point to be sure Isaac would feel no pain, that the Jew is able to know why it hurts. When a Jew encounters a pin, he asks, ‘What does it remember like?’”
And those of you who came here for science and are thinking “Whoa whoa whoa, let’s not,” I think this is a fascinating quote. It’s not scientifically accurate, as far as I know, but I think it captures the big question that I want us to be thinking about if we’re talking about Jewish memory. I don’t think that we have different memory systems in our brains than people who are not Jewish, but I do think that culture plays a substantial role in the way our memories are experienced in our lives. And there’s actually very good empirical data on this. They have identified different cultures for whom they have earlier memories than, we have later memories than. There are people who can remember earlier in childhood than others. There’s indigenous New Zealanders, who have a very strong memory-telling component in their culture, [who] happen to have longer and better memories than most other people they’ve been compared to. There is something about our culture that inculcates the sense of memory in us. And I encourage you to think about what is it about being Jewish that contributes to your memory, or what that relationship is.