Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, is a day reserved for Jews, and people of all faiths, to come together and remember the innocent lives lost during the Holocaust.
Yom Hashoah can be observed in many different ways, whether you live in America, Israel, or anywhere in between. Ceremonies often include the lighting of candles to honor Holocaust victims, listening to the stories of survivors, and the reciting of prayers including Kaddish for the dead and the memorial prayer, El Malei Rachamim.
Yom Hashoah is one of the most solemn days of the year in Israel, as people gather to reflect on the past and pray in remembrance. Memorial events are held throughout Israel. Specifically, national ceremonies take place at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Yad Vashem is a memorial that was established to honor the six million Jews that were killed during the Holocaust.
Furthermore, on the morning of Yom Hashoah, a siren is sounded for two minutes throughout Israel. When the siren is heard, all work and other activities must stop. The moment of silence is taken so that all people remember those who perished during the Holocaust.
Additionally, there are various ways to independently observe Yom Hashoah. Lighting a candle on the evening of Yom Hashoah in honor of those whose lives were lost in the Holocaust, reading books, watching videos, or talking to relatives can all be ways to educate yourself and remember the past. Taking part in community commemorations is also another way to participate.
“Never Again” is now. It is more important than ever to teach future generations the importance of observing this holiday. Share stories and lessons learned from survivors with your children, and remind them to share it with their children someday. We must never forget, no matter how hard it is to talk about.
At Star of David Memorial Chapels in Long Island, New York, we honor lives that have been lost through our burial practices and funeral services and will always remember the six million lives lost, on Yom Hashoah.