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Fellowship Urges Jews to Make Holocaust Remembrance Day About Remaining Impoverished Survivors

Rabbi Eckstein: ‘We must honor the last survivors before it’s too late’

JERUSALEM, The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) is calling on Jews and Christians to change the way they mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, refocusing from only memorializing the victims to also helping the last living survivors who are largely living in poverty around the world.

Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah in Hebrew, begins at sundown May 4 and ends sunset May 5, with Jews around the world memorializing the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. Yom HaShoah is one of the most solemn national holidays in Israel, where people nationwide stand at attention as sirens blare. Jewish communities and municipalities across the United States, from Maine to Iowa to Oregon, also hold memorial events and services.

But The Fellowship’s founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, urged Jews and Christians everywhere to do more, shifting from remembering the past to acting in the present to help the world’s remaining survivors in their last days.


“While it’s critical for the Jewish people – for all people – to remember the Holocaust and learn its lessons, sadly, we have been focusing on memorializing those who perished in the Holocaust, but ignoring the current plight of hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors around the world who are living out their last days in wretched poverty,” said Eckstein.

“We must re-examine the meaning and impact of Holocaust Remembrance Day. We must focus on helping the last remaining Holocaust survivors around the world achieve a measure of dignity in the twilight years of their lives.”

Eckstein and The Fellowship have made helping poor survivors a major thrust of their work in Israel and the former Soviet Union (FSU), where the bulk of survivors live. There are an estimated 189,000 survivors in Israel, or one-third of all remaining survivors worldwide, and some 70,000 living in the FSU. About 25 percent of Israeli survivors exist below the poverty line, while those in the FSU – principally Belarus, Russia and Ukraine – are among the poorest Jews around the world.

While Israeli Holocaust survivors receive some government subsidies, one quarter of them reported being unable to afford sufficient medicine, medical care, food or home heating fuel for the winter. In the FSU, healthcare, welfare and pensions remain inconsistent and many survivors lack sufficient food, medicine and home heating fuel.

The Fellowship provides more than $7.3 million annually in food, medicine, winter heating fuel, daycare and other assistance to over 18,000 survivors in Israel and also helps more than 60,000 survivors and other poor, elderly Jews in the FSU with an additional $15 million annually in food, medical assistance, home care and winter aid.


But that aid is not enough to care for the last generation of survivors, Eckstein said. He urged Christians and Jews “of conscience” to unite around Holocaust Remembrance Day and help expand The Fellowship’s ability to come to the aid of survivors worldwide.

With most survivors in their 80s, an average of 40 per day are dying and “the clock is ticking” in order to act, Eckstein warned.

“We must move from memorializing the past to also acting in the present,” Eckstein said. “This is not only about paying for programs to improve survivors’ final days. It is also about doing something tangible to fulfill our moral obligation to the dwindling number of Holocaust survivors while we still can. We must do justice now for those who endured one of the most horrific episodes in human history.”

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Jewish Holocaust Remembrance Day - Yom HaShoha

Yom HaShoha also Yom Hazikaron Lashoha Velagvora, Remembrance Day of the Holocaust, On the 27th day of the month of Nissan which falls in early Spring.

Yom Hashoha is a national memorial day in Israel in remembrance of the Six Millions Who perished in the Holocaust. We observe Yom HaShoah in synagogues in commemorations services. Many Yom HaShoah programs features talks by a Holocaust survivors. Many Jewish schools also hold Holocaust-related educational programs on, or towards Yom HaShoah.

In Israel, on the eve of Yom HaShoha there is a state ceremony at Yad Vashem.

On Yom HaShoha morning at 10:00am sirens are sounded for two minutes,

during which most Israelis stand in silence, commemorating the Holocaust Victims and showing respect. From the eve of Yom HaShoha all public entertainment are closed, Israeli Television and Radio broadcast mourning songs and documentary programs about the Holocaust.

In Auschwitz, Thousands of Jews from around the world hold a memorial service:

"The March of the Living"

 

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International Holocaust Remembrance Day – 27 January 2015

On 27 January, Israeli missions around the world will mark 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz and ten years since the UN resolution to establish an international Holocaust Remembrance Day.



Today (27 January), 70 years after the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, thousands of events throughout the world will mark Holocaust Remembrance Day. The initiative to establish an international Holocaust remembrance day came from the Israeli delegation to the United Nations, which adopted it in an official UN resolution in 2005. Many of the events planned in cooperation with various UN institutions this year will revolve around two significant dates: the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and a decade since the UN resolution.
The main event will be held at the United Nations in the presence of UN Sec-Gen Ban Ki-Moon, President of Israel Mr. Reuven Rivlin, and Chairman of Yad Vashem Mr. Avner Shalev. There will also be an official ceremony in Prague and Terezin, attended by many world leaders; Israel will be represented by Knesset Speaker Mr. Yuli Edelstein. The ceremony will be accompanied by an important international conference on combating antisemitism.
At the central ceremony commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, thousands of people are expected to attend, among them Holocaust survivors, heads of state and European royalty. A ceremony will be held in Wroclaw to return academic degrees that the Germans took during World War II.
Around the world, thousands of events will take place in more than 100 states and international organizations, from New Zealand and Japan in the East; Myanmar, India and Vietnam in Asia; Ethiopia, Ghana and Senegal in Africa; Russia; Europe; and New York, Peru and Argentina on the American continents.
Israeli missions, in the presence of leading figures in local governments, parliaments, academic institutions and cultural centers, will hold hundreds of events to mark this day of Holocaust remembrance. These include state ceremonies; meetings with Holocaust survivors; concerts in which music composed by Jews murdered in the Holocaust will be performed; exhibitions on the Holocaust in cultural, educational and governmental institutions; lectures and activities in schools and universities; screenings of films dealing with the Holocaust and with the second generation of survivors, and more.
In all of these events, emphasis is placed on transmitting Holocaust remembrance to the younger generation – school children and university students – whether by lectures or lessons to be given by the staff at the Israeli embassies or by holding round-table discussions and symposiums.
Gideon Behar, Director of the Department for Combating Antisemitism in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “The Foreign Ministry believes in the importance of perpetuating the memory of the Holocaust, in the face of a growing trend of Holocaust denial. This is a national mission of the State of Israel, and all of the embassies and consulates work towards preserving and transmitting Holocaust remembrance, with an emphasis on ongoing education activities.”
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Jewish Holocaust Remembrance Day - Yom HaShoha

Yom HaShoha also Yom Hazikaron Lashoha Velagvora, Remembrance Day of the Holocaust, On the 27th day of the month of Nissan which falls in early Spring.

Yom Hashoha is a national memorial day in Israel in remembrance of the Six Millions Who perished in the Holocaust. We observe Yom HaShoah in synagogues in commemorations services. Many Yom HaShoah programs features talks by a Holocaust survivors. Many Jewish schools also hold Holocaust-related educational programs on, or towards Yom HaShoah.

In Israel, on the eve of Yom HaShoha there is a state ceremony at Yad Vashem.

On Yom HaShoha morning at 10:00am sirens are sounded for two minutes,

during which most Israelis stand in silence, commemorating the Holocaust Victims and showing respect. From the eve of Yom HaShoha all public entertainment are closed, Israeli Television and Radio broadcast mourning songs and documentary programs about the Holocaust.

In Auschwitz, Thousands of Jews from around the world hold a memorial service:

"The March of the Living"

 

Read more...
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