Tonight is the start of Yom Ha Shoah or Holocaust Memorial Day. I feel like whoever set up the Jewish calendar made a strategic mistake by placing Holocaust Memorial Day after Passover when everyone is exhausted and just getting back to normal. Maybe if it were in the middle of Passover it would be more widely recognized. Passover naturally brings up thinking about the holocaust, and there are similar themes but with completely different outcomes. In our post-holocaust era, Passover has lost meaning for many. How do we celebrate God actively saving us once upon a time, when in more recent memory, we were not mostly saved? It is a huge question.
As it stands now, Yom Ha Shoah can easily be forgotten in the US. In Israel, there is a siren to remind everyone which I wrote about here. I feel like now more than ever we need to elevate Yom Hashoah, and we can’t just rely on survivors telling their stories. The day should be central and remembered by all.
I am counting the omer again this year which I think can be part of the solution. When you are counting the days you naturally keep your eyes close to the Jewish calender. So far this year, I am counting on my own rather than trying to pull in my family. But there are lots of counting days ahead so there is still time. Here is my post from last year with my homemade omer counter in case you want to learn more about it.
And here are a couple of key resources for Yom Ha Shoah. If nothing else, you can always poke around these sites and learn something to share with others. U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Yad VaShem (Israel’s museum).