After taking a year off, we returned to the FJMC Shoah candle program. We use the candle program to further strengthen the ties between our men and our youth, and to stand as an example for our community. Our 6th grade class and their parents take a morning to prepare 700 candles for mailing to our congregation. In return for this labor, the Men’s Club underwrites their Memorial Day Weekend trip to Washington, DC and the US Holocaust Museum and Memorial. We let our congregants know that their donations for the candles help the Men’s Club continue this partnership.
New this year, we recorded a message from students reminding congregants to light their candles, thanking them for making donations (and reminding others they can contribute), as well as letting the congregants know how they are looking forward to the Washington trip with their parent, finally thanking everyone for remembering the Shoah. This recording will be automatically sent to candle recipients on the evening before Yom Hashoa. The cost of this one-time phone blast is around $25. It is hoped that this personal connection will result in more candles being lighted and more donations being sent.
The trip to Washington has always been a good source of new Men’s Club leaders, and the candle program is no different. We often target dads early on in the year to get involved with the post office part of the candle program, the insert design, printing, as well as planning the trip. Linking the proceeds of the candle project to Holocaust education has been very important to our club since the beginning of the Shoah candle project.