Yom HaShoah is a day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust. Learn about its history, significance, and how to observe it through this comprehensive guide.
Yom HaShoah is a Jewish holiday that is also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is observed as a day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews who were killed during the Holocaust, as well as the other victims of Nazi persecution, including Romani people, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ individuals, political dissidents, and others. Yom HaShoah is typically observed on the 27th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, which usually falls in April or May. It is a solemn day of remembrance that includes special prayers, candle lighting ceremonies, and public gatherings to honor the victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
When is Yom HaShoah
Yom HaShoah is typically observed on the 27th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, which usually falls in April or May in the Gregorian calendar. The date for Yom HaShoah changes every year according to the Hebrew calendar, so it is important to check the Jewish calendar to find the exact date for each year’s observance.
History of Yom HaShoah
The history of Yom HaShoah dates back to the early years following the end of World War II and the liberation of the concentration camps. In 1949, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel declared the 10th day of the Hebrew month of Tevet as a day of remembrance for Holocaust victims whose date of death was unknown. This day is now known as Yom HaKaddish HaShoah, or the Day of Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance.
In 1951, a group of Israeli Knesset members proposed a bill to establish a national Holocaust memorial day. However, it wasn’t until 1959 that a law was finally passed establishing Yom HaShoah as a national day of remembrance in Israel.
The date of Yom HaShoah was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which began on the eve of the 15th of Nisan in 1943. This was one of the largest and most significant acts of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust, and the decision to link Yom HaShoah with this event was meant to honor the courage and bravery of those who fought against the Nazis.
Since its establishment, Yom HaShoah has been observed annually in Israel and around the world as a day of commemoration and remembrance for the victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
Yom HaShoah Timeline
Here is a brief timeline of key events related to Yom HaShoah:
- 1949: The Chief Rabbinate of Israel declares the 10th day of the Hebrew month of Tevet as a day of remembrance for Holocaust victims whose date of death is unknown. This day is now known as Yom HaKaddish HaShoah.
- 1951: A group of Israeli Knesset members propose a bill to establish a national Holocaust memorial day.
- 1959: A law is passed establishing Yom HaShoah as a national day of remembrance in Israel. The date is set to coincide with the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
- 1961: The Knesset passes a law mandating a two-minute siren on Yom HaShoah, during which all activity in Israel comes to a halt as people stand in silence to honor the victims of the Holocaust.
- 1963: Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust museum and memorial, unveils a new Hall of Remembrance on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem.
- 1979: The United States Congress establishes Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust, which is now observed annually during the week of Yom HaShoah.
- 1988: The March of the Living, a Holocaust education program that brings Jewish teens from around the world to Poland to learn about the Holocaust and visit concentration camps, is established.
- 2005: The United Nations General Assembly designates January 27th as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet forces in 1945.
- 2018: The Jewish Agency for Israel launches a global initiative called “Unto Every Person There Is A Name,” which encourages individuals and communities to honor Holocaust victims by reciting their names and sharing their stories.
Today, Yom HaShoah is observed in Israel and around the world as a solemn day of remembrance for the six million Jews and millions of others who were murdered during the Holocaust.
How to Observe Yom HaShoah
Here are some ways to observe Yom HaShoah:
- Attend a memorial service or ceremony: Many Jewish communities hold Yom HaShoah memorial services, candle lighting ceremonies, or other events to honor the victims of the Holocaust.
- Light a memorial candle: In many Jewish homes, a special memorial candle is lit on Yom HaShoah to honor the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust.
- Read survivor testimonies: Reading the stories of Holocaust survivors can be a powerful way to remember and honor those who lived through the horrors of the Holocaust.
- Observe a moment of silence: At 10:00 am on Yom HaShoah, a siren sounds throughout Israel and many Jewish communities around the world. Observers often stand in silence for two minutes to remember the victims of the Holocaust.
- Study the history of the Holocaust: Learning about the history and causes of the Holocaust is an important way to ensure that the memory of its victims is never forgotten.
- Make a donation to a Holocaust-related organization: Many organizations work to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and support survivors and their families. Making a donation to one of these organizations can be a meaningful way to observe Yom HaShoah.
Why Yom HaShoah is Important
Yom HaShoah is important for several reasons:
- Remembering the victims: Yom HaShoah is a day to remember the six million Jews and millions of others who were murdered during the Holocaust. By honoring their memory, we ensure that they are never forgotten and that their stories are passed down to future generations.
- Educating others: Yom HaShoah is an opportunity to educate others about the history and causes of the Holocaust. By learning about this dark period in human history, we can better understand the dangers of racism, antisemitism, and other forms of bigotry.
- Honoring the survivors: Yom HaShoah is also a day to honor the survivors of the Holocaust, many of whom suffered unimaginable trauma and loss. By recognizing their resilience and strength, we can learn from their experiences and work to build a more compassionate and just world.
- Fostering unity: Yom HaShoah is observed by Jews around the world, regardless of their nationality, denomination, or political views. This shared sense of purpose and community can help to build bridges between diverse Jewish communities and promote unity and solidarity.
Promoting tolerance and human rights: Yom HaShoah serves as a reminder of the dangers of hatred, intolerance, and prejudice. By observing this day and working to combat bigotry in all its forms, we can promote a more inclusive and just society for all.Advertisement