Israelis Remember the Holocaust

By Liron Dorfman
ORT Motzkin High School
Kiryat Motzkin, Israel

In the Jewish calendar, there are three events connected to the remembrance of the Holocaust. Before I go on to describe the three days of remembrance in Israel, I would like to explain for those of you who are not Jewish, that in the same way that there is the "Christian" calendar (the common calendar), there is another calendar used in the Jewish world. This calendar has been in existence since biblical times, is based on the lunar cycles, and it doesn't start on the same day that the Christian (Gregorian) calendar starts. In the Jewish world and in Israel, all the events occur according to this calendar, and thus each year the Jewish holidays do not fall on the same days as they do the previous year.

[ Western Wall ]
Western Wall
Jerusalem, Israel

The secular Jews in Israel, who are "not religious" in their every day life, do not follow the Jewish calendar during most of the year. Most of the time, secular Israelis use the Christian calendar, but both calendars are used to date our diaries. Today, as I write for example, according to the Jewish calendar it is the 16th day of Tevet (the fourth month of the Jewish calendar), and according to the Christian calendar, it is January 3.

So, as I mentioned before, during the year there are three Jewish events connected to the remembrance of the Holocaust. In this article, the dates of these events will be written according to their Jewish date, followed by their Christian date this year.

The General Kaddish Day

The first event, "The General Kaddish Day," occurs on the 10th day of "Tevet." This year it fell on January 2, 1996. To commemorate this day the rabbis from the rabbinet say a prayer to remember of all the Jewish people whose death date is unknown. The prayer is said to remember those people who have died, but no one knows exactly when they died. Of course, this remembrance day bears a direct connection to the people who perished during the Holocaust, and in many places throughout Israel, special ceremonies are held, especially by religious individuals.

The Memorial Service Day for Those
Jews Whose Place of Burial is Unknown

The second event, "The Memorial Service Day for Those Jews Whose Place of Burial is Unknown," occurs on the 7th day of the sixth month, "Haddar" according to the Jewish calendar. This year it's on the 27th of February. This date was chosen as the remembrance day because according to the Jewish tradition, Moses died on the 7th day of Haddar in the desert, but the place where he was buried is unknown. As you can see, there is, in fact, a direct connection to the Holocaust. This event is commemorated in Israel by prayers, and this event is "closer" to the hearts of non-religious people. This closeness is due to the fact that during this day, Israelis also remember the soldiers of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) who died, but whose place of burial is unknown, for example, the soldiers who died when a submarine exploded and whose bodies have not been found yet.

The Remembrance Day for the
Holocaust and for the Valor

During the two events mentioned above, most of the life in Israel is the same as it is every day. Then there is the third event, which is the major event for the remembrance of the Holocaust. During this day, all of Israel remembers the tragic events that occurred during the Holocaust, and one can even feel the mourning everywhere. This day is called "The Remembrance Day for the Holocaust and for the Valor" and occurs on the 27th day of "Nissan." This year it falls on the 16th of April.

From the name of the third event, you can understand that on this special day we remember not only the horrible crimes that occurred during World War II, but also the courage and the bravery of the Jews and the non-Jews during World War II. During this day, we remember the small efforts of the Jewish prisoners in concentration camps who fought for their lives in order to escape and be free people. This date was chosen for "The Remembrance Day for the Holocaust and for the Valor" because on this day, the Warsaw Ghetto Rebellion started. I hope you find this interesting.

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