Yom HaShoah, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day, commemorates the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and is observed on the 27th of Nissan in the Jewish calendar. This day is intended to honor everyone who lost their lives during the Holocaust, as well as everyone who survived it and helped save those who were victimized by its horrors.
Why Making This Choice Was Correct
Why is Yom Hashoah on the 27th of Nissan? This coincidence would have invalidated the Passover celebration; the joy of Exodus, in a sense, would have been buried under the ashes of Auschwitz, had the fighters/partisans prevailed and 15 Nissan been chosen for the remembrance. It would be a proclamation of hopelessness and catastrophe’s victory over redemption to convey the full experience of ruin on the same day of national independence. In essence, the Nazis would have achieved a win after the fact; their attempt to disrupt Passover would have eventually been successful.
Additionally, the message would have been that only identifying with the warriors was OK; all other Jews who perished in the Holocaust were a cause of shame, and it was best to downplay or ignore their demise. The message would have been that the victims’ deaths were devoid of dignity and significance due to the Nazis’ overwhelming power, which crushed them and slaughtered them before they had a chance to fight back or reply.
Holocaust Memorial Day is observed on this day (27th day of Nisan)
Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day, honors Jewish soldiers who lost their lives in the Second World War (1939-1945). Jews use the Hebrew word Shoah, which means a wind of enormous damage, rather than the term “the Holocaust” to describe the persecution of Jews during the Second World War. Because it marks the anniversary of the day in 1943 when the final Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto rebelled against the troops of Nazi Germany, the 27th day of the month of Nisan was chosen as Yom HaShoa, a time to memorialize the victims of the Shoah.
In synagogues or at Shoah memorials, Yom HaShoah commemorations, special services, and prayers are held, during which poetry of remember are recited in honor of the Jewish people who were killed in the War. Candles are lit in their memory as another way to honor the victims of the Nazis.
On January 27, the rest of the world traditionally honors those who died during World War II. The largest of the Shoah’s concentration camps, Auschwitz, was freed on that day in 1945 by the Soviet Red Army. On a separate day, people remember the eight Jews who were turned over by Finland to Nazi Germany on November 6, 1942.
Day of Awe
Honoring the courage of the survivors and rescuers as well as the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust
Flags lowered to half-staff, entertainment venues closed to the general public, national opening and closing ceremonies, and a siren sounding at 10:00 to indicate the beginning of two minutes of quiet
It is observed as Israel’s day of remembrance for the approximately six million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust by Nazi Germany and its allies, as well as for the Jewish resistance during that time. Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laG’vurah (Hebrew: yvm hzyKHrvn lSHvAh vlgbvrh, “Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day”) It is a national holiday in Israel. The first official remembrances were held in 1951, and a statute passed by the Knesset in 1959 established the day’s observance. Unless the 27th would be immediately following the Jewish Sabbath, in which case the date is changed by a day, it is held on the 27th of Nisan (which falls in April or May).
Calendar for Remembrance Day
Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed on January 27, which is the 27th day of Nisan according to the Hebrew calendar. On this day, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising took place 100 years ago.
Holocaust Memorial Day is known as Yom Hashoah in Hebrew. Israel observes Yom Hashoah on the Thursday before when Yom Hashoah falls on a Friday in actuality. Yom Hashoah is observed on the Monday after if it falls on a Sunday. Days of Remembrance in the US last from the Sunday before Yom Hashoah to the following Sunday.
When is Yom HaShoah, also known as Holocaust Memorial Day?
Yom HaShoah falls on the 27th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan according to the Jewish calendar, hence the celebration will start at dusk on Nisan 26.
The day was established in 1951 by the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) because it was not wanted to conflict with Shabbat by falling either immediately before or after Shabbat. So, if the day of 27 Nisan falls on a Friday, it is observed on the following Thursday, 26 Nisan. The observance is shifted forward to Monday, Nisan 28, with the beginning of the observance on Sunday, Nisan 27, if 27 Nisan falls on a Sunday. In this case, the observance would normally begin on Saturday evening with the conclusion of Shabbat.
There is little consensus regarding the desirability of transferring Yom HaShoah outside of Israel. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and numerous other Jewish institutions adhere to the Israeli custom. The Conservative and Reform movements have resolved against changing the date. The clash with Shabbat is viewed as being less severe, and keeping the date of observance consistent makes it easier to plan communal celebrations.
Keep in mind that Yom HaShoah is distinct from the International Holocaust Remembrance Day recognized by the UN, which is marked every January 27 in remembrance of the day Auschwitz was liberated.
To find out when the Reform Movement will observe Yom HaShoah this year, go to our Yom HaShoah page.