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Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)

Yom Hazikaron laShoah velagvura

Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed in Israel every year on the 27th of (the Hebrew month of) Nisan. It commemorates the Holocaust. The Knesset adopted the law in 1959.

Like other holidays in Israel, commemoration begins in the evening and ends at sunrise the next day. On this day, ceremonies and memorial rallies are held, the national flag is lowered to half-mast, and television/radio channels broadcast programs on the Holocaust of European Jews during World War II, their acts of heroism, and their legacy.

The commemoration opens at 20:00 with Holocaust survivors lighting six candles in Yad Vashem. The six candles are in memory of the 6 million Jews who died during the tragedy.

The ceremony is held with the Israeli president, the Prime Minister, Holocaust survivors, and second/third-generation members. A special "Yizkor" prayer is recited, along with the "El Maleh Rahamim" prayer, and Psalms.

You can see in the following video the 2022 ceremony opening.

The following day, at 10:00, a civil defense siren echoes through the country for two minutes. This is followed by ceremonies at memorial monuments, national institutions, schools, and in the IDF. Almost everyone in Israel stops their activity at that specific time of the day.

Later on, at the Knesset and the Ohel Yizkor (a specific building in Yad Vashem), the song 'Lekol Yish Yesh Shem'('Every man has a name') is sung. During the ceremony, Knesset members and state officials read the names of persons (could be their relatives) who perished in the Holocaust. This part of the memorial aims to give back to the victims their names and identities, as the scale of the event may obscure their uniqueness.

The events of Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day finish with the youth movement rally, held in Kibbutz Lohamei Hagheta'ot (close to Acre).

The 1959 law stipulates that "on Holocaust Remembrance Day a two-minute silence will be observed throughout the country, during which the state's citizens will suspend all work and all road traffic. The law also states that memorial gatherings, rallies, and commemorative functions are to be held on this day in army camps and educational institutions. Flags are to be flown at half-mast, and broadcasts on media outlets are dedicated to the special character of the day. On this day, public places of entertainment and cafés are closed."*

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel did not set a day of remembrance or halachic mourning for the Holocaust.

This law, described below, is the 9th section of Israel's Basic Laws:

Independence Day and Memorial Days.

A. Independence Day is the official national holiday of the state.

B. Memorial Day for the Fallen in Israel's Wars and Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day are official memorial days of the State.



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