It’s been more than a week since Holocaust Remembrance Day, but I still have not heard a rational explanation of why students attending a play shouted encouragement during scenes depicting Jews being beaten and killed by Nazis.
“Hit him harder,” one student cried out as a kapo beat a Jew.
“Well done,” shouted another.
Others cheered and applauded the work of the Nazis.
This took place not in the United States or Europe but in the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv before an audience of hundreds of Jewish high school students!!!
President Obama will visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on Monday to mark the Days of Remembrance established by Congress. He will speak about how the United States is honoring the pledge of "never again" by developing a comprehensive strategy to prevent and respond to mass atrocities, the White House reports.
He will be introduced by Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, and will tour the museum.
The date selected for Yom Hashoah, 27 Nisan, marks the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Chosen—not without controversy—by the Israeli Knesset in 1953, it serves as an occasion to mark the deaths of those Jews murdered by the Nazis for whom no date of death is known.
But what of those whose dates of death were recorded?
Yom HaShoah, the day declared by the Knesset six decades ago to serve as the Jewish people’s period of memorial and mourning for the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, takes on a more vital aspect of a Day of Remembrance as the years pass. As the survivors of and witnesses to the horrors of the Third Reich’s near-annihilation of the Jewish people pass on, memory serves an increasingly important role.
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- "Israel is the historical commemoration to the victims of the Holocaust," President Shimon Peres said at a Yad Vashem ceremony marking Yom Hashoah.
Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day, or Yom Hashoah, began Sunday night in Israel with the national ceremony, where survivors lit six torches representing the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust.
Among the other rites to commemorate the day will be one remembering Jews who rescued other Jews from the Nazis.
The Orthodox Chief Rabbinate decided in 1949 that the Shoah (the Hebrew, literally meaning "catastrophe," that is now used for the Holocaust) should be commemorated on the 10th of Tevet, a minor fast day already established in the Jewish calendar.
After years of Holocaust farces, observers debate the uses of irony or graphic novels when it comes to Holocaust remembrance.
The traditional, reverent ways to “never forget” what happened to six million Jews during the Holocaust are still very much with us. Seventy years after the event, Holocaust museums have recently opened in Los Angeles and the Chicago suburb of Skokie, and even a city like Richmond, Va., with about 8,000 Jews, has one.
In The New York Times of April 20, 1944 — corresponding to Nisan 27, the day we now observe as Yom HaShoah — there was a report of New York Jews observing, without quite realizing it, without having a name for it, the very first Yom HaShoah tied, as it is now, to the anniversary of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
Then, as now, the commemoration was postponed from the date the uprising began (the day of the first seder) to a weekday shortly after the holiday.
For all the Shoah’s omnipresence in our American and Jewish civic religion, Yom HaShoah itself has been less successful at becoming a synagogue-based, or family-based, holy day. The only consensus is the ritual of lighting yahrtzeit candles... and then what?
Holy days are supposed to be, by simple definition, a day that is holy.