Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day 5780

Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day 5780

From Jerusalem, Israel, on Monday,  April 20, 2020, at 8:00 pm (Israel time), the official Opening Ceremony for Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day 5780 will be broadcast from Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem on the Mount of Remembrance, on Yad Vashem’s website and Facebook page.

Following the advice of psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, in his autobiography “Man’s Search for Meaning” – “What matters is to make the best of any given situation.”

This year the ceremony was pre-recorded without an audience due to restrictions of the pandemic coronavirus COVID19.

Stage at Yad Vashem for Yom HaShoah with memorial flame lit

The ceremony will comprise traditional elements, including prerecorded video remarks by Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  Naomi Cassuto will speak on behalf of the survivors. 

Yad Vashem Council Chairman and Holocaust survivor Rabbi Israel Meir Lau will kindle the Memorial Torch as he has done many times in the past.

Rabbi Y M Lau pointing to himself as a child in large photo in Yad Vashem

 In this photo, the Rabbi is pointing to himself as a child soon after liberation, sitting with a group of US army soldiers and other Jewish survivors. 

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

During the ceremony, six traditional memorial torches will be lit.

The stories of six Holocaust survivors featured this year are the following: the first torch– Zohar Arnon– second– Aviva Blum-Wachs; third–Haim Arbiv; fourth- Leah Reuveni; fifth–Avraham Carmi; and sixth– Yehuda Beilis

Lighting memorial flame at Yad Vashem on Yom HaShoah

In the past, a child or grandchild assisted each torch lighter,

Light a torch at Yad Vashem for Yom HaShoah

often wearing an IDF uniform. Frankl’s words: ‘to turn from tragedy and suffering to human achievement and accomplishment’ are exemplified in the faces of those lighting the memorial torches.

Israeli singers Shiri Maimon and Shai Tzabari will participate in the ceremony, which will also include narrative pieces written by Holocaust survivor Jack Weber, and recited by Israeli actor Zohar Straus. The MC for the ceremony will be Danny Cushmaro. 

The ceremony will feature the traditional memorial service, including the recitation of a chapter from Psalms by Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi David Lau. The Rishon LeZion, Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef will recite the mourner’s Kaddish, and Cantor Daniel Dahan will recite El Maleh Rahamim, the Jewish prayer for the souls of the martyrs.

To mark Holocaust Remembrance Day this year, when public gatherings have been banned in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak worldwide, Yad Vashem has asked the public to participate in an international campaign to record themselves reciting the names of Holocaust victims, and share the video on social media using the hashtags #RememberingFromHome #ShoahNames.

Yom Hashoa victims photos at Yad Vashem

“Join us and mark Holocaust Remembrance Day this year from your homes,” said Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev. “Help us to restore the memory of those murdered during the Holocaust, as you do each and every year. Although the circumstances this year are unique, the message is still the same: We will never forget their names.”

Photographs are from RJS previous visits to Yad Vashem.

For the ceremony when Shimon Peres was President click here.

Background noise interfered with our recording in the private room where the torch lighters and their invited family members gathered before the ceremony. It was a very different feeling than the ominous silence during the short videos presented during the ceremony relating each of the survivor stories. In this room, this gathering felt more like a party. A celebration. A triumph of good over evil. We survived. Proudly, see what we have accomplished.

Behind the scenes with RJS in 2016 click here.

To conclude, HaTikvah from last year

The Hope for better times ahead for all.

Never Again.

#RememberingFromHome #ShoahNames.

 

 

From Yom Hashoah to Yom Haatzmaut

This time of year is always busy,

 starting with Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day,

until after Yom Haatzmaut, Israel Independence Day.

Six symbolic torches were lit at Yad Vashem on Yom Hashoah

Yom Hashoad at Yad Vashem six torch lighters

for the six million Jews murdered in World War II.

Another symbol of mourning is

Knesset flag at half mast

the large Israeli flag on top of the Knesset

Israel flag half mast

flown at half-mast.

Israeli flags on cars

Small Israeli flags can be found on cars

Israeli flags draped down side of police station

and huge ones unfurled down buildings.

This week even the skies were blue and white,

Clouds in sky over open road outside Jerusalem Israel

from the road leading out of the Judean Hills,

blue sky and clouds over Kineret

and all the way up over the Kinerret.

There were hundreds of ceremonies

for Yom Hazikaron,

remembering the fallen soldiers and victims of terror,

all 23,447 who lost their lives.

One new and special program this year

ammunition hill

was held at Givat HaTachmoshet,

Ammunition Hill.

As the sun set and the memorial siren sounded,

a capacity crowd was on hand

to remember lone soldiers who fell,

it was sponsored by

The Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin.

Israeli soldiers marching

An honor guard watched as the Israeli flag was lowered

memorial flames

and a memorial flame was lit.

Israeli soldier with rifle

Young people supporting and giving comfort to each other,

wore these Yizkor strips on their hearts,

Yizkor sticker

remembering those who lost their lives.

From nightfall and during the entire day,

thousands visited to the military cemeteries,

from Har Herzl and gravesides throughout Israel.

But as soon as Yom Hazikaron ends,

Yom Haatzmaut, Independence Day begins,

Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence,

Beit Hanasi garden Herzl bust

is getting ready for a big day of celebrations.

The gardens in front and back

Back gardens Beit Hanasi

are ready for the invited guests.

inside Beit Hanasi waiting room

The waiting room inside has had a makeover.

120 selected IDF soldiers will be honored

on Yom Haatzmaut.

Since some of their faces cannot be shown,

soliders being honored Beit Hanasi Jerusalem Israel

 this photo from the back will have to suffice.

President Reuven Rivlin came out at the rehearsal

and seemed to really enjoy

President REuven Rivlin greets soldiers to be honored on Yom Haatzmaut

the few moments he spoke with the honorees.

The pilots of special planes also rehearsed this week

planes in air show Jerusalem Israel for Independence Day

 for the traditional mid-day air show.

From mourning

we turn to celebration

and preparing for

 Yom Haatznaut,

68 in flowers at Beit Hanasi

Israel at 68.

Yad Vashem: Behind the Camera on Yom HaShoah

Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day,

is international, but more intense in Jerusalem, Israel,

from a simple memorial candle display in a hotel lobby,

to the national commemoration at Yad Vashem.

Since the program is televised at 8:00 pm,

it starts on time,

Yad Vashem for ceremony Yom Hashoa

  people start arriving hours early to the plaza.

IDF honor guard at Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Day

The honor guard poses for photographs before.

Survivor torch lighter Labi and son Maurice Labi

One of the six survivors honored to light a memorial flame,

Joseph Labi and son Maurice were kind enough to pose,

more on his story next week when there is time.

IDF honor guard at Yad Vashem Yom Hashoah

This was one of my favorite photos.

sunset sky at Yad Vashem for Holocaust memorial event

The sky at sunset was a scene stealer this year.

Yad Vashem for Yom Hashoah

When the Prime Minister enters all stand, block the view,

and either try for a handshake or cellphone photo,

Ceremony at Yad Vashem for Yom Hashoah

and it is a large crowd of hundreds.

RAv Lau lighting memorial torch at Yad Vashem

Rabbi Meir Lau, a child survivor, lit the large memorial flame

after the Israeli flag was lowered to half mast.

After President Reuven Rvilin spoke,

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at Yad Vashem Yom Hashoah

PM Benjamin Netanyahu spoke for 15 minutes,

Netanyahu speaking at Yad Vashem for Holocaust memorial day

using his hands to emphasize a point.

lights at Yom Shoah Yad Vashem

Six flames, six survivors,

one for each million murdered by the Nazis,

in the Shoah, Holocaust, each with an incredible story.

Yad Vashem for Yom HaShoah crowd

During the videos retelling their stories,

you could hear a pin drop,

no one coughed, no one moved,

except to wipe away tears.

After the program ended,

crowd at Yad Vshem for Yom Hashoah ceremony

I held my camera high to see who was in the crowd.

But in the sea of invited guests,

with Israeli political and military leaders,

a large German government representation,

it was hard to find anyone.

US Ambassador Dan Shapiro at YadVashem for Yom Hashoah

However, US Ambassador Dan Shapiro lingered

to talk with this family.

Selfie at Yad Vashem for Yom Hashoa

Many selfies were taken that night,

but this last one of the night is a favorite.

For too many families remembering is not a once a year event,

but a lifetime spent reliving horrors.

However, from the depths and sadness,

the signs are up for

Yom Haatzmaut,

Yom Haatzmaut sign in Jerusalem street

Independence Day giant celebrations

are being planned for next week,

in Jerusalem, Israel.

But first,

Shabbat shalom.

שבת שלום