Yom Ha’Shoah

Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day

By Travis Snow
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Posted in Jewish HolidaysYom Hashoah on February 22nd, 2018

Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) is a designated day of remembrance and mourning among the worldwide Jewish community, which traditionally falls on the 27th of Nisan.  During this time, Jewish people everywhere will honor the memory of those who lost their lives at the hands of the Nazis during WWII.  In addition, many Jewish institutions, synagogues, and community organizations, will also use the somber occasion of Yom HaShoah to reflect on the ways we can stand up and fight anti-Semitism in the 21st century.

In Israel and around the world, there will be commemorative ceremonies which include the lighting of candles, the recitation of the mourner’s Kaddish, and liturgical songs such as El Malei Rahamim (God, Full of Mercy, Dwelling on High).  Perhaps the most important Yom HaShoah ceremony will occur as it begins at sundown in Israel.  This ceremony will be held at Yad VaShem in Jerusalem, which is the world’s largest and most significant Holocaust memorial museum.  It will be marked by speeches from the President and Prime Minister of Israel, the lighting of torches by Holocaust survivors, and the lowering of the Israeli flag to fly at half-mast.

The importance of Yom HaShoah as a national day of memorial in Israel will also be evident the next morning at 10 a.m.  At this time, multiple air-raid sirens will go off throughout the entire country of Israel.  As this occurs, people will stop their cars on the road, business will cease, errands will be put on pause, and everyone will stand for two minutes in solemn reflection and in remembrance of those who perished during the Holocaust.

Besides the various ceremonies and memorials that will take place in Israel, as well as in synagogues throughout the Diaspora, the weeks leading up to Yom HaShoah are also traditionally the time when the Jewish community emphasizes educational programs and initiatives related to the Holocaust.  It is well understood among the Jewish people that one of the primary ways to fight the type of anti-Semitism that eventually led to the Holocaust is to educate the broader public with respect to both the historical developments, as well as the specific intellectual patterns of thought, that made such a horrific event possible.

For this reason, spring is arguably the best time to visit one of the world’s many Holocaust memorial museums, as you, too, seek to enter into deeper solidarity with the Jewish community, and better understand the difficult, yet vital, lessons to be learned from this horrible tragedy.

 

Travis Snow is a devoted follower of Yeshua and husband to his wife Tali. He is also the president and founder of Voice of Messiah, a non-profit ministry committed to reaching Jewish people with the Gospel and helping the Church understand God’s purposes for Israel. In his spare time, he enjoys gardening, hiking, and watching European soccer. To read more of Travis’ writing, go to www.voiceofmessiah.com

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