International Holocaust Remembrance Day

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

The UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day is January 27th.

The annual commemoration is held on the day Auschwitz was liberated.

Auschwitz 2001 view outside

This photograph was taken on March of Living trip in 2001 to Poland.

Memorial in Poland for Shoah

From around the world, thousands of young people came to learn and remember.

Poland Holocaust memorial

Communities wiped out. Six million remembered by stone memorials.

Today in Jerusalem, President Rivlin said, “There can never be forgiveness for the crimes of the Nazis against the Jewish people. There can never be forgiveness for the terror and suffering of Jewish children during the dark years of the Second World War. But there can be reconciliation between the German people and the Jewish people today…Reconciliation must be based on truth. As the Holocaust fades from living memory, we must all work together to keep the memory alive.”

Display Yad Vashem children exhibit

In Jerusalem, Yad Vashem is trying to give names and faces to the victims.

Dolls from Holocaust on exhibit at Yad Vashem

Donated dolls are displayed in children’s memorial room which is dedicated to the one million Jewish children murdered.

Yad Vashem Yom Hashoah 5778

The national Israeli Holocaust Memorial Day, called Yom HaShoah, is in the spring.

It begins with a televised ceremony at Yad Vashem at night.

IDF honor guard at Yad Vashem for Yom HaShoah

An Israeli Defense Force honor guard is an annual feature.

Romania Lions supporting Ten Commandments

Artifacts from destroyed Eastern European synagogues are displayed in the Yad Vashem synagogue.

Romanian Aron Kodesh

Lights that were crushed out in Europe, shine today as a memorial in Jerusalem.

Israel’s Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Naftali Bennett presented the 2018 Global Antisemitism Report with details of worldwide trends, and highlights key initiatives of the Ministry to combat and monitor antisemitism. Unlike previous years, antisemitic violence in 2018 was led by neo-Nazis and white supremacists.  The Holocaust memorial at the Jewish cemetery of Salonika in Greece was violated a second time, this time by neo-Nazis.

 “The State of Israel is a strong and secure country…The year 2018 saw record highs of antisemitism in the streets, online, and in the political arena, around the world. It is a year that saw the highest number of Jews murdered in antisemitic attacks since the 1990s (bombing in Argentina), in three separate attacks. The Ministry of Diaspora Affairs will continue to work to build bridges with Jews around the world, and to eradicate antisemitism through legal, diplomatic and public diplomacy channels.”

Yesterday, on Shabbat, it felt like spring and Jerusalem, Israel was at its best.

The streets were filled with people enjoying the sunshine.

The parks were filled with families and children at play.

The Nazis failed.

#WeRemember

#NeverAgain

The memorial prayer El Maleh Rahamim:

Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem

Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem

This year Yom HaShoah,  Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, as it is officially called, was observed from Wednesday night to Thursday night.

The State Ceremony held at Yad Vashem was broadcast live on Israeli television.  As has become traditional, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau lit the large memorial torch.

Stage at Yad Vashem for Yom HaShoah with memorial flame lit

President Reuven Rivlin spoke to the crowd, which was so spread out in the plaza that most guests had to watch the large screens on each side of the stage in order to see the program.

Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at Yad Vashem on Yom Hashoah

After a musical interlude, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke.

Yad Vashem supporters from around the world come to attend the emotional ceremony.

Lighting memorial flame at Yad Vashem on Yom HaShoah

Six survivors, one by one, aided by a younger family member, lit the six memorial flames for six million murdered Jews.

Survivors and young relative lighting flame at Yad Vashem on Yom HaShoah

The life stories of the six survivors are presented in six short videos. One theme runs through these brief glimpses into the past: having arrived in Israel after undergoing difficulties that are beyond imagination, they are proud to have succeeded in raising new generations of proud and accomplished Jews.

The past cannot be redone. But,

IDF honor guard at Yad Vashem for Yom HaShoah

each year the IDF Honor Guard stands on the stage. The young soldiers are symbols of a bright future.

The traditional prayer for the dead is recited each year. I thought I could hear the words reverberating from the Judean Hills around us.

At 10:00 am, the next morning, a two-minute siren sounded. Jerusalem stopped to remember.

The day was marked by a long list of programs honoring survivors and remembering the victims.

Much more, but I decided to end with the Hatikvah which concluded the Yad Vashem ceremony.

Hope for the future.

Mourn and celebrate.

Live life.

Jerusalem has a very long list of public events free of charge for Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s 70th Independence Day, iwhich will be  celebrated next week.

Going to need some time to rest up first.

Shabbat Shalom

Jerusalem Prepares for Season of Celebrations – the Yoms

Jerusalem Prepares for Season of Celebrations – the Yoms

The Passover and Easter celebrations are now over.

However, the spring holiday season in Jerusalem, Israel,

is far from over.

As soon as those Passover dishes are put away,

it is time for the roller coaster of emotional  ‘Yoms’:

Yom HaShoah,

Holocaust Remembrance Day,

Yom HaZikaron,

the Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror,

which is immediately followed by

Yom HaAtzmaut,

Israel’s Independence Day,

and this year is a big 50 for

Yom Yerushalayim,

Jerusalem Day.

As soon as the celebration of freedom ends

Lord and Lady Gainsford in Jerusalem

international guests gather at Yad Vashem,

for the official opening ceremony for Yom HaShoah,

to remember the 6,000,000 Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

Each year 6 survivors are honored with the lighting of a memorial flame.

Six survivors who light flames on Yom HaShoa

Here the honorees posed for a photo before the televised ceremony,

each with their own incredible story.

Ready for ceremony in Jerusalem Holocaust Remembrance Day

The lights on the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Plaza

serve as a hauntingly beautiful background at sunset.

Taps and flag lowered at Yom HaShoah at Yad Vashem Jerusalem Israel

Taps is sounded by a lone IDF trumpeter,

and the honor guard and all assembled stand as the Israeli flag is lowered.

Flames and survivors on Yom Hashoah Jerusalem

Six survivors lit flames, aided by either a child or grandchild,

with some of the young relatives currently serving in the IDF.

The next day, there is another ceremony, less well-known,

Knesset greeting in flowers outside on lawn

which is held in the Knesset.

Flowers at Knesset Jerusalem Israel

The Knesset entrance plaza has new landscaping,

Israeli flags flying at half mast for Yom Hashao Jerusalem

where the flags fly all day at half-mast.

Israeli Knesset pin with Israeli flag

Israeli flags were featured on the Knesset pins given out to guests.

Again, six survivors lit memorial flames.

100 year old man lighting torch for Holocaust Remembrance Day

This survivor is 100 years old.

The President and Prime Minister attended and spoke,

and the Chief Rabbis added traditional Jewish memorial prayers.

In this televised ceremony as well,

a short video of the survivors’ harrowing stories was shown.

Speaker of Knesset Yuli Edlestein at Remembrance Day ceremony

At the ceremony, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein,

led the reading of a list of names of those who did not survive.

The Prime Minister, President, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,

and members of Knesset, all added names of family members

to the list of those who were murdered,

“To every person there was a name.”

However,

from the retelling of darkness in the Chagall Hall of the Knesset,

Rose Garden Jerusalem

one exits to the sight of the blooming roses in the Rose Garden.

Along with with flowers in bloom,

the Yoms are a time of blue & white Israeli flags,

huge ones down sides of buildings,

tiny ones blowing from car windows,

Flags and flowers in Jerusalem

big ones on schools,

Jerusalem cafe Israeli flag on tables

and small ones on a cafe table.

Signs for Yom Haatzmaut in Jerusalem Israel

Signs are up for celebrating Yom HaAtzmaut,

Israel’s 69 years of Independence,

Hebrew sign for Ceremony for Remembrance Day

but first there will be Yom HaZikaron,

a time to remember those who gave their lives

Memorial flame on Menachem Begin Memorial Center Jerusalem

with annual memorial flames displayed on buildings.

Jerusalem and Israeli flags are flying above the Jerusalem streets,

Jerusalem 50 years mew white flags

along with this new white flag,

which marks 50 years of the liberation of Jerusalem,

Hotels are booked out

and flights are hard to come by,

as tens of thousands plan to join in the celebrations of

Yom Yerushalayim, 

filling the Jerusalem streets with more flags

and joyous days  of celebrations.