HaShofar Oct13 - Light a Candle

Light a Candle, Preserve a Memory!™

by Stephen Neustein


Light a Candle, Preserve a Memory!

Burned within our collective Jewish identity and memory is an image of loss, grief and sadness. Horrific. Incomprehensible. Horrific. Senseless. Six Million lives, stolen, tortured, and murdered.

Light a Candle, Preserve a Memory!

Those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it. The lessons of the Shoah? Unforgettable?

My parents were married in 1948. Israel had miraculously survived and was a reality. I was raised in the security of a Jewish neighborhood.  I went to a Jewish Day School, synagogue and went to Jewish camps. I was related to and knew survivors and their children. There was no Yellow Candle program nor need for one.  No one could imagine forgetting the vivid frightful horrors of the Holocaust. It was unthinkable that the world could ever forget.

Today, I am not so sure. Survivors are fewer, Israel is stronger, and the world is still filled with hate. Civilized society is often merely a thin veneer, easily ripped apart. Human rights are trampled regularly throughout many parts of the world.

Light a Candle, Preserve a Memory!

Hitler’s final solution: Genocide? Jewish tradition teaches that in every generation evil will raise its ugly head again to threaten the Jewish people and all of mankind. Amalek has not been destroyed. Today I fear that many lives are still threatened by Amalek. Peaceful fragile people’s existences are still being extinguished while the world shrugs its collective shoulders and watches in silence.

Light a Candle, Preserve a Memory!

Created in 1981 by FJMC clubs to keep alive the memory of the Six Million who perished in the Shoah, The Yellow Candle™ is modeled after a traditional Jewish memorial Yahrzeit candle that burns for 24 hours during periods of mourning and on the anniversary of the passing (Yahrzeit) of a family member.

The candle’s yellow wax serves to remind us of the yellow arm band that Jews were forced to wear during the Nazi regime.

The program logo is a yellow Magen David (Star of David) outlined with barbed wire, with the word “Jude” in the middle. This preserves the memory of the armband or cloth patch that Jews were forced to wear in the ghettos of Eastern Europe.

Light a Candle, Preserve a Memory!

The FJMC estimates that over four million of our Yellow Candles have been lit on Yom HaShoah (the Day of Remembrance) since the program began over thirty years ago.

It is a good start... but it is not enough.

This year the FJMC has set a new goal.  Challenge the world to light 1,000,000 candles!

It is a good next step... but it will not be enough.

Our ultimate goal is to light one candle for every victim of the Holocaust.

Light a Candle, Preserve a Memory!

It was not just the Jewish people who were the victims of Nazi Germany’s infamous criminal cruelty. We are reaching out to non-Jewish people as well. And they are responding! Many non-Jewish groups recognize the need to make sure the world never forgets. They too are lighting candles on Yom HaShoah.

Light a Candle, Preserve a Memory!

Be part of this worldwide effort! Tell your congregants. Tell your, friends, neighbors and relatives. Teach your children. Never forget. Commit to lighting a candle.

Be part of your community and synagogue Yom HaShoah programs. Let the world know that the victims of the Shoah are not forgotten.

Light a Candle, Preserve a Memory!

Log on the FJMC’s website and register your participation. You can order candles for your synagogue today that feature artwork by renowned artist and survivor Dubie Arie.

Light a Candle, Preserve a Memory!


Stephen Neustein is an FJMC Vice President and Chairman of the FJMC Yellow Candle Program.