SHARING LIGHT FOR REMEMBRANCE

COVID-19 UPDATE - Please share with your Yellow Candle Leaders and Rabbi 

 

We hope you and your family are staying safe during this most unusual time.

Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) April 20, 2020 falls when many North American countries will still be in a lockdown mode due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  A number of Men’s Clubs and other organizations, who distribute the Yom HaShoah Yellow Candle to their membership are asking what to do, under these unique circumstances?

If you have already delivered the Yellow Candles to your organization's membership, proceed as normal and encourage your members to light the candle on the eve of April 20th.  Following Governmental guidelines, if you are still able to safely deliver the candles before April 20, 2020, do so.  Again, this must be done in full compliance with all the guidelines being recommended and enforced.

If you were unable to distribute the Candle, please encourage your membership to recite the meditation at the end of this message on the eve of April 20th and spend a few minutes in reflection on the importance of the day.

The Candle remains an important symbol and we want to suggest alternative opportunities  to distribute and the days to light the Candle.  Of course, if you are a Synagogue or Temple, please consult with your Rabbi to determine appropriateness what might be an appropriate option. Lighting your Yom HaShoah candle on these days, remembering a child or a loved one who lost their lives in the Holocaust, is an appropriate, and educational way to remember a young life who perished in the Holocaust, perhaps whom no one may be left to say the Mourners Kaddish or Yizkor.   The following are some alternatives, if appropriate you should always refer to your Rabbi for guidance.

●      On Shavout it is traditional to recite the Yizkor (The opening word of  the communal memorial) which is the traditional mourning services recited in memory of a parent or other close loved one or friend during synagogue services on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), on the eighth day of Passover (Pesaḥ), on Shemini Atzeret (the eighth day of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles), and on the first or second day of Shavuot  pending if you celebrate 1 day or 2 (Feast of Weeks).   Often people will light a Yartziet Candle on the day they recite Yizkor.  Shavout begins on Thursday May 28th and for those who observe two-day ends at sunset on May 30, 2020.  Check the local congregation to determine which day Yizkor is recited.

●      The  9th of Av  Tisha B'Av is regarded as the saddest day in the Jewish calendar and it is thus believed to be a day which is destined to recall tragedies that befell the Jewish People throughout the ages.  It is a fast day that begins on July 29, 2020 and concludes after sunset on July 30, 2020, a number of congregations have used the Yellow Candle during their services on Tisha B’Av is an opportunity for candles to light a Yellow Candle at home.

●      Yom Kippur is another day when Yizkor is recited.  The Candles and the name of a child or a loved one could be distributed during Rosh HaShanah to families attending services with the request to light the candle on erev Yom Kippur.

In each of the above the name of a Child and the meditation may be used.

The tragedy of the Holocaust is not to be forgotten in order to prevent similar heinous crimes or a repeat offense.  Sharing light through remembrance using the Yellow Candle, is just a moment in time, but a timeless moment that can never be forgotten. The tool of light – through candle sharing – will shine truth on everyone it comes across. 

We cannot forget the Holocaust; we must educate its lessons to prevent hatred and intolerance. Together we can shine the light, even at this time of our own darkness.

 

MEDITATION

In these memorable days, as I light this Yellow Candle, I vow never to forget the lives of the Jewish men, women, and children who are symbolized by this flame.  They were tortured and brutalized by human beings who acted like beasts; their lives were taken in cruelty.  May we be inspired to learn more about our six million brothers and sisters as individuals and as communities, to recall their memory throughout the year, so that they will not suffer a double death.   To that end, I now memorialize the name and life of (Name Below) who as a child was denied an entire lifetime of dreams and hope. May I embody the beauty and goodness of what could have been had s/he lived.  May we recall not only the terror of their deaths, but also the splendor of their lives.  May the memory of their lives inspire us to hallow our own lives and to live meaningful Jewish lives so that we may help to ensure that part of who they were shall endure always.

First Name

Last Name

Date of Birth

Place of Residence

Place of Death

Date of Death

Age

 

245+ Organizations are Sharing Light with Yellow Candles 

 

The tragedy of the Holocaust is not forgotten in order to prevent similar heinous crimes or a repeat offense.  Sharing light through remembrance using the Yellow Candle, is  just a moment in time, but a timeless moment that can never be forgotten. The tool of light – through candle sharing – will shine truth on everyone it comes across.  


 

HISTORY

Over seventy years ago, half of the earth's Jewish population perished at the hands of another Amalek, an Austrian house painter who seized control of Europe and threw the earth into darkness. God's light unto the other nations flickered but did not die. A new, modern Exodus arose from the depths of despair and tragedy.  From the ashes of Europe, survivors of the Holocaust, or Shoah, made their way towards new lives. Emigrants dispersed around the world, to the new State of Israel and to the western hemisphere. In these places, they began to rebuild shattered lives. 

The Yellow Candle™ program was created in 1981 by FJMC clubs in Canada, New England and elsewhere to keep alive the memory of the Six Million who perished in the Shoah. The Candle is modeled after a traditional Jewish memorial Yahrzeit candle that burns for 24 hours during periods of mourning and on the Yahrzeit anniversary of a family member.  Survivors asked a question. How could Yahrzeits be observed for those victims whose entire families had been wiped out? An idea was born, a special memorial candle with yellow wax, in remembrance of the yellow stars forced upon European Jews during the Nazi regime. A photo on the candle container shows young people visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. This reflects the importance of teaching our youth the lessons of the Holocaust and of remembering the Six Million.  In addition, 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. 

Your group can run a successful Yellow Candle program. Success means distributing as many Candles as possible. Success means lighting a candle and remembering, by name, a child or an adult who was murdered in the Shoah. No human being who wishes to memorialize a victim should be left out. For Jewish people, remembering a victim is a great mitzvah. 

Today, organizations across North America and beyond sponsor this international program. Yellow Candles™ are distributed to people from all streams of Judaism, to institutions such as synagogues, schools, museums, military bases, churches and government offices. Your group can run a successful Yellow Candle program. Success means distributing as many Candles as possible to your community. No human being who wishes to memorialize a victim should be left out. 

This website and the Yom HaShoah Yellow Candle™ Guide are valuable resources for enhancing your observance of Yom HaShoah. We're glad to answer all of your questions.  Please take the time to explore and download the Yellow Candle Guide from the menu on left side of this page.

Yom HaShoah is April 21, 2020.  Light the Yellow Candle on the evening of April 20, 2020, erev Yom HaShoah.

Steven Silverstone and Arthur Lashin, Co-Chairs, Shoah Yellow Candle™ Program

Remember. Never Forget. Zachor!

 

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