The Full Wiki

Yom HaShoah: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laGvura (יום הזיכרון לשואה ולגבורה; "Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day"), known colloquially in Israel and abroad as Yom HaShoah and in English as Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Holocaust Day, is observed as Israel's day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany and its accessories, and for the Jewish resistance in that period. In Israel, it is a national memorial day and public holiday. It is held on the 27 Nisan (April/May). In other countries there are different commemorative days – see Holocaust Memorial Day.

Contents

Origins

Yom HaShoah was inaugurated in 1951, anchored in a law signed by the Prime Minister of Israel David Ben-Gurion and the President of Israel Yitzhak Ben-Zvi.

The original proposal was to hold Yom HaShoah on the 14th of Nisan, the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising (April 19, 1943), but this was problematic because the 14th of Nisan is the day immediately before Pesach (Passover). The date was moved to the 27th of Nisan, which is eight days before Yom Ha'atzma'ut, or Israeli Independence Day.

Whil there are Orthodox Jews who commemorate the Holocaust on Yom HaShoah, others in the Orthodox community—especially Haredim, including Hasidim—remember the victims of the Holocaust on days of mourning declared by the rabbis before the Holocaust, such as Tisha b'Av in the summer, and the Tenth of Tevet, in the winter. Ismar Schorsch, former Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary (of the Conservative movement) held that Holocaust commemoration should take place on Tisha b'Av.

Most Jewish communities hold a solemn ceremony on this day, but there is no institutionalized ritual accepted by all Jews. Lighting memorial candles and reciting the Kaddish—the prayer for the departed—are common. The Masorti (Conservative Judaism) movement in Israel has created Megillat HaShoah, a scroll and liturgical reading for Yom HaShoah, a joint project of Jewish leaders in Israel, the United States and Canada. The booklet was subsequently converted into a kosher scroll by sofer Marc Michaels for reading in the community and then into a tikkun—copyist guide for scribes—'Tikkun megillat hashoah'. In 1984, Conservative Rabbi David Golinkin wrote an article in Conservative Judaism journal suggesting a program of observance for the holiday, including fasting.

Commemoration

Advertisements

In Israel

Flags at half mast at sundown on Yom HaShoah
Sirens blare at 10 AM as motorists exit their cars and stand in silence front of the Prime Minister's House in Jerusalem and throughout Israel on Yom HaShoah

Yom HaShoah opens in Israel at sundown[1] in a state ceremony held at the Warsaw Ghetto Plaza at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes Authority, in Jerusalem. During the ceremony the national flag is lowered to half staff, the President and the Prime Minister deliver speeches, Holocaust survivors light six torches symbolizing the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust and the Chief Rabbis recite prayers.

At 10:00 am on Yom HaShoah, sirens are sounded throughout Israel for two minutes. During this time, people cease from action and stand at attention; cars stop, even on the highways; and the whole country comes to a standstill as people pay silent tribute to the dead.

On Yom HaShoah ceremonies and services are held at schools, military bases and in other public and community organizations.

On the eve of Yom HaShoah and the day itself, places of public entertainment are closed by law. Israeli television airs Holocaust documentaries and Holocaust-related talk shows, and low-key songs are played on the radio. Flags on public buildings are flown at half mast.

Observance of the day is moved back to the Thursday before, if 27 Nisan falls on a Friday (as in 2008), or forward a day, if 27 Nisan falls on a Sunday (to avoid adjacency with the Jewish Sabbath). The fixed Jewish calendar insures 27 Nisan does not fall on Saturday. [2]

Abroad

Those Jews in the Diaspora who observe Yom HaShoah may observe it within the synagogue, as well as in the broader Jewish community. Commemorations range from synagogue services to communal vigils and educational programs. Many Yom HaShoah programs feature a talk by a Holocaust survivor or a direct descendant, recitation of appropriate psalms, songs and readings, or viewing of a Holocaust-themed film. Some communities choose to emphasize the depth of loss that Jews experienced in the Holocaust by reading the names of Holocaust victims one after another—dramatizing the unfathomable notion of six million deaths. Many Jewish schools also hold Holocaust-related educational programs on, or around, Yom HaShoah.

Also during this day, tens of thousands of Israeli high-school students, and thousands of Jews and non-Jews from around the world, hold a memorial service in Auschwitz, in what has become known as "The March of the Living," in defiance of the Holocaust Death Marches. This event is endorsed and subsidized by the Israeli Ministry of Education and the Holocaust Claims Conference, and is considered an important part of the school curriculum – a culmination of several months of studies on World War II and the Holocaust.

Orthodox Judaism and Yom HaShoah

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel, in 1949, decided that the Tenth of Tevet should be the national remembrance days for victims of the Holocaust. For this day, it recommended traditional Jewish ways of remembering the dead, such as the study of the traditional Mishnah section about ritual baths, saying Psalms, lighting a yahrzeit candle and saying Kaddish for those Holocaust victims whose date of death remains unknown. On other occasions, the Chief Rabbinate also referred to Tisha b'Av as being a date of remembrance for Holocaust victims.[3]

The Knesset decision taken on 21 April 1951 to designate the 27th of Nisan as Yom HaShoah ignored the Rabbinate's decision from two years earlier, and the Chief Rabbinate, in turn, decided to ignore the Knesset's chosen date, one reason being the fact that Jewish law forbids fasting and certain laws of mourning during the month of Nisan, which is considered to be a month of happiness. Another view, held by influential Haredi Rabbi Avraham Yeshayeh Karelitz (known as the 'Chazon Ish'), held that we in our days do not have the power to institute new days of mourning or commemoration for future generations.

While there are nevertheless Orthodox Jews who commemorate the Holocaust on Yom HaShoah, others in the Orthodox community – especially Haredim, including Hasidim – remember the victims of the Holocaust on traditional days of mourning which were already in place before the Holocaust, such as Tisha b'Av in the summer, and the Tenth of Tevet, in the winter. Several well-known Haredi rabbis, including Rabbi Michael Dov Ber Weissmandl, Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam of Bobov, Rabbi Shimon Schwab, and several others, wrote kinnot about the Shoah, to be said on Tisha b'Av.

While most Modern Orthodox Religious Zionist Jews do stand still for two minutes during the siren, in Haredi areas, no attention is given to Yom HaShoah. Most stores do not close, schools continue and most people do not stop walking when the siren sounds. The non-participation of Haredim in Yom HaShoah is one of the points which regularly causes friction between Haredim and non-Haredim in Israel, when non-Haredim consider the Haredi position of ignoring the siren and Yom HaShoah altogether to be disrespectful.

Thus, a situation came into existence where religious forms of commemoration take place primarily on the Tenth of Tevet and on Tisha b'Av, while secular forms of commemoration take place primarily on Yom HaShoah, and either part of the population ignores the other one's day of commemoration.

Conservative Judaism and Yom HaShoah

In 1981, members of the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs FJMC, a branch of the mainstream Conservative movement, created a special memorial project specifically for Yom HaShoah. A dedicated yahrzeit candle was conceived, with yellow wax and a barbed-wire Star of David logo reminiscent of the armbands Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust. This object has come to be known as the FJMC Yellow Candle (TM). Approximately 300,000 candles are distributed around the world each year, along with relevant prayers and meditations. FJMC Yellow Candle

In 1984, Conservative Rabbi David Golinkin wrote an article in Conservative Judaism journal suggesting a program of observance for the holiday, including fasting. However, as Orthodox view it striclty forbidden by the Halacha to make a fast of mourning on the month of Nissan[4], month of Joy (no Tachanun, no esped, …), the remembrance of the millions of deaths of the Shoah is included in one of the two preexisting fasts of Tisha b'Av or Tenth of Tevet.

Another prominent Conservative Jewish figure shared the Orthodox sentiment about not adopting Yom HaShoah. Ismar Schorsch, former Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary (of the Conservative movement) held that Holocaust commemoration should take place on Tisha b'Av.

The Masorti (Conservative Judaism) movement in Israel has created Megillat HaShoah, a scroll and liturgical reading for Yom HaShoah. This publication was a joint project of Jewish leaders in Israel, the United States and Canada.

Gregorian Dates

In 2009, it fell on Monday, April 20th.

References

  1. ^ In the Jewish calendar the day begins in the evening and ends in the following evening.
  2. ^ "United States Holocaust Memorial Museum". http://www.ushmm.org/remembrance/dor/calendar/.  
  3. ^ Wagner, Matthew. ""An anchor for national mourning", Jerusalem Post, 28 April 2008.
  4. ^ not to be confused with the Fast of the Firstborn, which is not a fast of mourning, but which commemorates the salvation of the Israelite firstborns

External links


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message