Thursday, May 2nd, 2019 is Yom HaShoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. When is the siren and how is the day commemorated?
Hebrew: יום הזיכרון לשואה ולגבורה
The official name of Holocaust Memorial Day is Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laG'vurah (יום הזיכרון לשואה ולגבורה; "Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day"), commonly referred to in Israel and abroad as Yom HaShoah (יום השואה) or simply Holocaust Remembrance Day.
In Israel Yom HaShoah is commemorated on the 27th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan usually in April or May in the Gregorian calendar. If the 27th of Nisan is adjacent to Shabbat the date is changed by one day. The International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is commemorated on 27th of January.
In Israel, on the eve of Yom HaShoah, at 8pm an official memorial ceremony takes place at the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem in the presence of the Prime Minister and President of Israel. Each year 6 Holocaust survivors are called upon to light a memorial candle in honor of the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. It is usual for the Speaker of the Knesset to address the nation. Kaddish (Mourner's Prayer for the Departed) is recited as well as a touching prayer called El Malei Rachamim (G-d Full of Mercy) - see the video we've shared. The ceremony comes to a close with the singing of the Israeli national anthem - Hatikvah.
As this is an official day of mourning in Israel, all public entertainment is prohibited - restaurants, theaters, pubs etc., are all closed. Television channels broadcast programs that remind us of those difficult days; The Diary of Anne Frank, stories of Rauol Wallenberg and Janusz Korczak, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and touching interviews with survivors who share their personal stories.
"For the dead and the living, we must bear witness". Elie Wiesel
Yom HaShoah is an official working day in Israel. Children attend school and participate in age appropriate memorial activities. At 10 a.m. a siren sounds across the country, traffic comes to a standstill, everyone stops what they are doing and the country stands together for a minute of silence. The siren marks the commencement of the official memorial service at Yad VaShem.
In Poland the day is marked by "The March of the Living". The March of the Living is an annual educational program which brings Jewish students from around the world to Poland, where they explore the history of the Holocaust. On Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of people march from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the largest Nazi concentration camp complex built during World War II.
It is traditional to light a memorial (yarzheit) candle on the eve of Yom HaShoah. The memorial candle burns for a little more than 24 hours.
There is no specific religious ritual for Yom HaShoah and practices differ in Jewish communities around the world.
The day holds great meaning for Jews around the world. The main theme that runs through all observances is the importance of remembering and recalling the victims of the Holocaust and ensuring that such a tragedy never happens again.
The words to "El Malei Rachamin" for Yom HaShoah
|God, full of mercy, who dwells on high, provide a sure rest upon the Divine Presence's wings, within the range of the holy and the pure, whose shining resemble the sky's, all the souls of the six million Jews, victims of the European Holocaust, who were murdered, slaughtered, burnt and exterminated for the Sanctification of the Name, by the German Nazi assassins and their helpers from the rest of the peoples. Therefore, the Master of Mercy will protect them forever, from behind the hiding of his wings, and will tie their souls with the rope of life. The Everlasting is their heritage, the Garden of Eden shall be their resting room, and they shall rest peacefully upon their lying place, they will stand for their fate in the end of days, and let us say: Amen||
אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים שׁוֹכֵן בַּמְּרוֹמִים, הַמְצֵא מְנוּחָה נְכוֹנָה עַל כַּנְפֵי הַשְּׁכִינָה, בְּמַעֲלוֹת קְדוֹשִׁים וטְהוֹרִים כְּזוֹהַר הָרָקִיע מַזְהִירִים אֶת כָּל הַנְּשָׁמוֹת שֶׁל שֵׁשֶׁת מִילְיוֹנֵי הַיְּהוּדִים, חַלְלֵי הַשּׁוֹאָה בְּאֵירוֹפָּה, שֶׁנֶּהֶרְגוּ, שֶׁנִּשְׁחֲטוּ, שֶׁנִּשְׂרְפוּ וְשֶׁנִּסְפּוּ עַל קִדּוּשׁ הַשֵׁם, בִּידֵי הַמְרַצְּחִים הַגֶּרְמָנִים הָנַאצִים וְעוֹזְרֵיהֶם מִשְּׁאָר הֶעַמִּים. לָכֵן בַּעַל הָרַחֲמִים יַסְתִּירֵם בְּסֵתֶר כְּנָפָיו לְעוֹלָמִים, וְיִצְרוֹר בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים אֶת נִשְׁמוֹתֵיהֶם, ה' הוּא נַחֲלָתָם, בְּגַן עֵדֶן תְּהֵא מְנוּחָתָם, וְיַעֶמְדוּ לְגוֹרָלָם לְקֵץ הַיָּמִין, וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן
Commemorating Israel's fallen soldiers, victims of terrorism and all those that perished in the defense of the country - Yom Hazikaron l'Chalalei Ma'arachot Yisrael ul'Nifge'ei Pe'ulot Ha'eivah - יוֹם הזִּכָּרוֹן לַחֲלָלֵי מַעֲרָכוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל וּלְנִפְגְעֵי פְעוּלוֹת הָאֵיבָה