As I reconstruct my parents' debate, it went like this:
MOTHER: The jews were irretrievably destroyed. What is left is just a pitiful remnant of the great Jewish people [which for her meant European Jewry]. The only honorable role for the Jews that remain is to form communities of memory - to serve as "soul candles" like the candles that are ritually kindled in memory of the dead.
FATHER: We, the remaining Jews, are people, not candles. It is a horrible prospect for anyone to live just for the sake of retaining the memory of the dead. That is what the Armenians opted to do. And they made a terrible mistake. We should avoid it at all cost. Better to create a community that thinks predominantly about the future and reacts to the present, not a community that is governed from mass graves.
(The Ethics of Memory, Avishai Margalit, p. 8)