DID YOU KNOW . . . Yom Ha Shoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)

Tonight at sundown begins Yom Ha Shoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), a Jewish day of remembrance.

Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laGvura (“Remembrance Day for the Holocaust and Heroism”), known colloquially in Israel and abroad as Yom Ha Shoah and in English as Holocaust Remembrance Day, is observed as a day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.  In Israel, it is a national memorial day. 

On the eve of Yom HaShoah in Israel, there is a state ceremony at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes Authority.  At sundown and once again at 11:00 am the next day throughout all of Israel air-raid sirens are sounded for two minutes. During this time, people stop what they are doing and stand at attention; cars stop, even on the highways; and the whole country comes to a standstill as people pay silent tribute to the dead.  Flags on public buildings are flown at half-staff.  Commemorations outside of Israel range from synagogue services to communal vigils and educational programs.

Many people in the United States observe Yom Hashoah, which is also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day. It commemorates the lives and heroism of Jewish people who died in the Holocaust between 1933 and 1945. Many people in the United States, including those with Jewish ancestry or connections, observe Yom Hashoah on the 27th day of the month of Nisan. Many Jewish communities hold commemorative ceremonies or events to remember Holocaust victims who died during World War II. Activities may include lighting memorial candles and reciting the Kaddish, which is a prayer for the departed.

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