Best Practices


    Best Practice #1: 

    The FJMC Yellow Candle website,, has lists of NAMES OF CHILDREN who were murdered during the Holocaust. Include their names as part of your Yellow Candle remembrance program.

    During the Holocaust, the Nazis and their collaborators murdered over 1.5 million Jewish children under the age of 16. Personalize each family’s observance of Yom HaShoah by providing every family with the name and homeland of a young victim who may have no surviving relatives to light a candle in his or her memory.

    Another way to include children’s names is to mail merge them into the Yellow Candle Meditation letter.  Numerous Yellow Candle Committees – who have used the Holocaust children merged meditation – have experienced an increase in donations from synagogue families with children.

    The FJMC website has templates for Avery Labels, mail merged lists and sample meditation prayers ready to use.


    Best Practice #2:

    A Yellow Candle committee completely redid distribution through a HAND DELIVERY program which can be easily adapted to your congregation.

    1. The congregation’s religious school represents 14% of total families. The yellow candle committee worked with the school director to create family name labels by grade. On candle packing day they used magic markers to boldly mark the bags so they would get to the correct grades and then delivered the bags to the school office.

    2. The congregation’s Chai Society (over 55 years old) programs average over 100 attendees. The committee attends one or two of their programs to distribute candles and delete those names from the home delivery list.  Look for other large groups that meet at the synagogue to hand deliver the candles too.

    3. Home delivery program. The committee gets the synagogue list by full name with title, family salutation, street, city, state and zip using an Excel spread sheet. Suggestion: have zip as separate cell.  After deleting out school families, Chai member families and candles picked up at the synagogue, the club prepares the home delivery list.

    4. On the excel spreadsheet, sort by town, or by zip+4, or by easily concentrated communities. A master delivery spreadsheet can be found on FJMC website.

    a. To determine number of delivery volunteers needed, divide master list by 25. Recruit volunteers from Men's Club, USY, religious school parents and children, and others in the synagogue.

    b. Map your delivery routes by using software like or

    With this method a volunteer can deliver 25-30 candles in two hours preferable with a helper. The distribution list is sent to the volunteers to help them organize. Boxes or paper bags, clearly labeled with each volunteer’s name are preloaded with the correct number of candles, Yellow Candle door bags and the master delivery list. 

    FYI: Some candles cannot be delivered because of gated communities and security buildings. Ask your volunteers to bring those back. In turn, mail those Yellow Candles that could not be hand delivered or make other arrangements with the recipient.


    Best Practice #3:

    Change your Yellow Candle distribution program from ONE donation request letter to THREE letters using this or your own custom marketing approach detailed here.

    1. Have your Rabbi prepare a letter encouraging congregants to light the yellow candle in observance of Yom HaShoah and encourage donations of any amount. The letter should be sent six weeks before distribution of your candles.

    The letter will be more effective if you include what charity your congregation’s or club’s donation will be used for. Sample Rabbi letters can be found at

    2. With each candle distributed, include a meditation with the synagogue’s and Men's Club president’s letter. Sample letters and meditations are at

    a. Personalize meditation with names of children that perished in the Holocaust. Children’s names, birthplace, age and place when murdered are available at

    b. The Presidents’ letter, inserted with the candles, includes form for donations equal to the Rabbi’s letter.  Sample letters and meditations are at

    c. Ask all participants to post a picture of their candle lighting to social media. #yellowcandle on twitter, post on your own Facebook page and share on #yellowcandle and, etc. 

    3. Six weeks after the candle distribution, a third letter is a positive factor.  Send a reminder request letter to congregants who have not yet donated after having a Yellow Candle delivered to them. The letter should be sent under the name Yellow Candle Committee Chair.


    Best Practice #4:

    While you would hope that all the people who you distribute such candles to will remember to light them on Yom HaShoah, there will be recipients who forget to light them on that day.

    We urge you to suggest that if they forgot to light the candle on Yom HaShoah, there are other days (this list is far from complete) in which lighting them would be appropriate.

    • September 29-30. Babi Yar Massacre of 33,000-Jews

    • November 9th – Kristallnacht

    • November 15th – Warsaw Ghetto Sealed

    •  Any day when your congregant has a personal yahrzeit. There were tens of thousands of Jews who had no one to light a candle on their behalf. By the congregant lighting a candle, those victims have not been forgotten.

    In addition, you want them to have used the candle, so that when, next year, you distribute the candles again, they don’t have two candles, and they become less likely to send a contribution.

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