Yom HaShoah – In Remembrance of the Holocaust

Not all Jewish holidays are days of religious observance. One very important day is meaningful to all Jewish people. This day is Yom HaShoah and it occurs in either April or May. In the Hebrew calendar, this day is in the month of Nisan. It occurs one week after the seventh day of Passover and one week before a day called Yom Hazikaron, which is dedicated to the fallen soldiers of Israel. In this article, you will learn about the history of Yom HaShoah and also about how it is observed by not only Jewish people, but by all people who wish to commemorate the tragedy, horrors, and also the heroism of the Holocaust.

The date for Yom HaShoah was selected by the Israeli Parliament in 1951. The name of the Israeli Parliament is the Knesset. Even though the day is not a religious day, since it was declared by a government and there is no mention of it in any religious texts, it is observed by all Jewish communities. Some Orthodox rabbis do not observe this day, since they only observe religious holidays, but no rabbi’s deny or refute the importance of this day either. The day was declared to educate young people about the heroism and resistance of the Jewish people against the Nazis. It is also meant to remember those who suffered.

Throughout Israel, sirens are blown two times during the day of Yom HaShoah. The siren signals the beginning of a two-minute period of silence. The two minutes are meant to be moments of reflection and remembrance. All of the television and radio shows in Israel are connected to the Holocaust and to stories of Jewish resistance. It is common to hear interviews with Holocaust survivors. Also on this day, there are no open theaters or pubs in Israel. As a matter of fact, most places of public gathering in Israel are closed on this day.

In other countries, there will be special services in synagogues on Yom HaShoah. There are memorial services for the dead. There are also educational programs offered by many Jewish communities so that Jewish and non-Jewish people alike can come to understand the meaning and loss of the Holocaust. Since this memorial day is still relatively new, many Jewish communities are creating new traditions to remember the Holocaust. Unlike the Jewish holidays of a religious nature, Yom HaShoah should be acknowledged or observed by all members of the human community, since this day is not only about a Jewish tragedy, but about a human tragedy that involved the loss of millions upon millions of lives.

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