Yom HaShoah at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem

Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day,

began with an official ceremony at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel.

Traffic on the way to Har Herzl to get to the ceremony

was backed up for blocks,

image Israel apartheid, photo Arabs Jerusalem, Palestinians picture

  it was faster to get out and walk to the shuttle buses,

rather than to sit in the line of cars.

Those watching the opening ceremony at home on TV,

photo security, image security

did not have to come hours early and go through layers of security.

But this year I did go and we were lucky,

as it was warmer than usual.

image Asher Aud, photo Holocaust survivor, picture torch lighter

The Holocaust survivor to light the first of six memorial torches was Asher Aud.

His son Tziki Aud leads one of my favorite organizations,

the Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin.

As with many other survivors,

without proper food during their growing years,

the children tower over their parents.

image large photo lens, picture of lenses for camera

Photographers were ready with powerful lenses.

image IDF, photo soldiers, picture soldier

Every beret had to be perfect,

image soldiers, photo IDF< picture Yad Vashem

for the honor guard on stage,

image soldiers, picture young soldiers, photo IDF

standing at attention for most of the program.

One advantage of attending a TV broadcast

is that you know it will start on time.

image rabbis, photo dignitaries, picture Jerusalem mayor

Even dignitaries had to arrive early, so there was time to chat.

image Rabbi Lau, photo Rabbi Yisrael Mei Lau, picture Rabbi Lau

Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau lit the large memorial torch to open the program

image memorial flame, photo Yad Vashem, picture flame at Yad Vashem

and passed the lighter to a soldier who saluted before leaving the stage.

image violinist, photo man playing violin, picture violinist

Sanya Kroitor played during the first of the musical interludes.

image Shimon Peres, photo Peres speaking, picture large screens

A large screen on each side of the stage projected

a huge image of the speakers to thousands seated in the plaza.

image Benjamin Netanyahu, photo Israeli prime minister speaking, picture Bbi

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke after President Peres.

image Yad Vashem, photo ceremony Yom HaShoah, picture Remembrance Day

The lights and colors were great for photos,

but I wondered how the view was for two people watching  from on top?

photo Yad Vashem, image torch, picture torch lighting

Each survivor honored to light a memorial torch stood

as a video with Hebrew and English subtitles retold their story.

The audience was silent,

listening to their incredible stories of survival.

image memorial, photo Yad Vashem, picture lights

Six grandchildren stood ready to help each grandparent.

image Shimon Peres with crowd, photo Peres at YadVashem, picture President shaking hands

At the end of the ceremony, President Shimon Peres went to shake their hands.

image Yad Vashem, photo Yad Vashem, picture Yad Vashem memorial

Then thousands had to get out of Yad Vashem and to find their way home.

On Yom HaShoah, there were way too many other programs

in community centers, synagogues and schools to mention here.

image Israeli flag, large Israel flags blowing photo, picture blue and white flags

Israeli flags were flying at Har Herzl cemetery parking lot.

The season “the Yoms” has started,

Israeli flags are popping up everywhere,

first Yom HaShoah,

 next week Yom Hazikaron, followed by Yom Ha’atzmaut.

image Israel 66, photo Yom Haatzmaut, picture Israel birthday

Signs are up announcing the celebration of Israel 66 on May 6.

#NeverAgain                #WeAreHere

UPDATE:

How could I?

I forget one of “the Yoms!”

As soon as I approached the Montefiore Windmill,

my mistake was obvious.

Busloads of children on school trips are on the streets,

Yom Yerushalyim is May 28.

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