Never forget. Today is Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day – the official day of commemoration for the 6 million Jews — and millions of other persecuted people — murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
Inaugurated in 1953, on April 19, people all across the world pause to remember and to honor those who were killed in the Holocaust with special services and gatherings. Some people read names of lost family or community members, light yartzheit candles or spend time with survivors. In Israel, residents observe an official moment of silence in the morning. Some people remember through art – like this essay on the Huffington Post by Andrea Strongwater that imagines all the potential “good” the world lost by losing so many people in the Holocaust. Or like Andrew Lustig, who expressed himself through this powerful video:
Yom Hashoah also offers a unique opportunity to honor the millions of lost lives through service. No, we can’t change history. But we can contribute to and shape a future of greater tolerance. We can take a stand and help make sure that persecutions like those of the past don’t happen. Here are some ideas for serving on Yom Hashoah, and everyday.
- iVolunteer: Volunteer to spend time once a week with a Holocaust survivor. Hear their stories and provide them with comfort and companionship.
- Yad Vashem: Learn the history. Visit the Holocaust museum and education/resource center in Jerusalem.
- Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village: Volunteer or donate to this Repair the World grantee-partner, which provides a residential community in rural Rwanda for children who were orphaned during and after the genocide in 1994.
- AJWS: Join Repair the World grantee-partner American Jewish World Service in their campaigns to provide humanitarian aid to and promote lasting peace in Sudan.
- Teaching Tolerance: Serve through teaching others. This website is the place for educators – or anyone looking to learn or teach about diversity, equal opportunity, and promoting respect for differences.
How will you commemorate Yom Hashoah? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting @repairtheworld.