OBSERVING YOM HASHOAH (DAY OF REMEMBRANCE)
Over 75 years ago, the Jewish people experienced mass genocide under the Nazi regime. The casualties were astronomical— six million lives were lost, approximately 2/3 of Europe’s Jewish population. In remembrance of the event and the lives lost, Israel celebrates Yom Hashoah each year. This year, Yom Hashoah falls on Tuesday, April 21st. In similar fashion, the US will celebrate Holocaust Remembrance Day through a series of weeklong events spanning from Sunday, April 19th – Sunday, April 26th.
In previous years, a quick Google search would reveal services held in synagogues or museums around town. However, due to the coronavirus, organizations have not released any official plans for 2020. Luckily, you can still observe the day without leaving your home. Here are four ways to observe Yom Hashoah from home.
LIGHT A YELLOW CANDLE
By Jewish tradition, a yahrzeit memorial candle is lit during periods of mourning. These candles burn 24 hours and are lit annually on a loved one’s anniversary of death. So it is no surprise that observing Yom Hashoah also invites participants into a yearly lighting of candles.
To participate from home, light some candles and observe a minute of silence. Be sure to grab yellow candles, which represent the yellow armband that Jewish people were forced to wear during the Holocaust.
VISIT THE HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL WEBSITE
Located in Washington DC, the USHMM offers resources to observe the day from home. They recommend reading the names of some of the victims to both honor their lives and to better understand the scale of the loss. An estimated 650 names can be read in an hour. You can find more information at ushmm.org.
WATCH A MOVIE
Though Holocaust-inspired movies can be difficult to watch, becoming desensitized and forgetting the impact of the Holocaust would be devastating too. If you feel up to it, there are fantastic movies to watch that commemorate the stories of those in the Holocaust. Keep in mind that movies of this nature are generally not suited for children and contain many themes of violence. While there are several movies to choose from, consider Schindler’s List. Or, for a short documentary about a Holocaust survivor, The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life.
GET ON SOCIAL MEDIA
There is no denying the impact that social media has on all generations. Show your support on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Be sure to include #WeRemember or #HolocaustRemembrance to sync up with the international movement.
There are several ways to observe Yom Hashoah from home, whether it’s lighting a candle, watching a movie, or simply spreading awareness on social media. While each is a small endeavor, there is power in numbers.
Let us never forget the Holocaust.
And by doing so, may be we never relive such a time.