As time marches forward, it is our task to remember the Shoah and teach our youth about the horrible destruction of our people during World War II. What was destroyed were not only human lives but human potential; not merely Jewish culture but new possibilities for Jewish creativity; not simply six-million Jews but the generations that might have come from them.
It is incumbent upon the Jewish people to remember what we lost. May the lighting of a Shoah Yellow Candle allow us to bring the memory of our loss into our hearts and homes. Each year, the FJMC Shoah Yellow Candle Program distributes tens of thousands Yellow Candles to Men’s Clubs, Brotherhoods and houses of worship to help remember the Holocaust.
The Candle is yellow to remind us of the Yellow Star that Jews were forced to wear to identify them as Jews. Each year o the night of Yom Ha’Shoah, candles are lit in homes around the globe to kindle our memory, provide an opportunity for education and remind us to never forget.
Another opportunity to light a Yom HaShoah Yellow Candle is as a memorial remembrance of Kristallnacht. On November 9-10, 1938, Nazi leaders directed a series of pogroms against the Jewish populations in Germany. This event came to be known as Kristallnacht, “The Night of Broken Glass”, because of the shattered glass that littered the streets after the vandalism and destruction of the Jewish-owned businesses, synagogues and homes.
Kristallnacht marked an intensification of a regime of terror against the German Jews. Violent mobs, spurred by Anti-Semitic exhortation from Nazi officials, destroyed hundreds of synagogues and burned or desecrated Jewish religious artifacts. Acting on orders from Gestapo headquarters, police officers and firefighters did nothing to prevent the destruction. Approximately 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses, homes and schools were plundered and 91 Jews were murdered. An additional 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps.
During October and November, many Jewish Men’s Club’s and Brotherhoods take the opportunity to distribute Shoah Yellow Candles and sponsor community Kristallnacht commemorations, sometimes in conjunction with a Veteran’s Shabbat. Most include a cover letter to explain the purpose of the Yellow candle and solicit donations, which are usually used for Holocaust related educational programs.
Yom Ha’Shoah and Kristallnacht are often commemorated as a community events however the FJMC understands that Holocaust remembrance also needs to also take place in our homes, allowing families to gather and teach the next generation about those horrific moments in Jewish history. For over 40 years, the FJMC Shoah Yellow Candle Program has brought families together to speak about events leading to the Holocaust (perhaps for the first time) and raise awareness of what can happen if Anti-Semitism goes unchallenged. Light a Yellow Candle to remember, to teach and to never forget.
Participation in the Yellow Candle Program will help your Men’s Club or Brotherhood to keep the memory of the Shoah alive. For more information about the FJMC Yellow Candle Program, please visit https://www.fjmc.org/content/yellow-candles-home or contact the Florida Region FJMC interim Yellow Candle Chair Alan Feinman at [email protected]. Light a Candle; Preserve a Memory.
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