November 28, 2022

Shoah Yellow Candles

Yom HaShoah

April 27, 2022 to April 28, 2022

Eighty-one years ago an Austrian house painter who seized control of Europe and threw the earth into darkness initiated a program called The Final Solution. Over half of the earth’s Jewish population perished at his hand, 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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is yc_slide_2020-e1595459695834.png

Sadly, anti-Semitism did not die. We at FJMC know that the massacre three years ago at the Tree of Life Synagogue was not just the deadliest act of anti-Semitic violence in American history, but merely one example in a rising trend of murderous attacks upon Jews and other minorities and marginalized groups in our society. Even worse, evidence suggests that the perpetrator targeted Tree of Life because the congregation served as a Pittsburgh venue and co-sponsor for National Refugee Shabbat, a program that underscores values at the heart of FJMC’s Yom HaShoah Yellow Candles program.

As time marches forward, and those survivors of the Shoah become smaller, 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.

Thus, it is incumbent upon us to remember what we lost. May the lighting of this Shoah Yellow Candle allow us to bring the memory of our loss into our hearts and homes.

I encourage you to light the candle and place it by your window in the same way that you place the Hanukkah candles for all to see. I also encourage you to contribute to the Program to ensure that we may be able to continue it in the years to come. Give your contributions in memory of those who perished and in honor of the generations of their families that were never born.

Light a Candle, Preserve a Memory.

Please Share the Light on Erev Yom HaShoah

Sundown Wednesday, April 27, 2022.



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.

Light a Candle – Preserve a Memory

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.

. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________


WHY LIGHT A CANDLE AT HOME? 

Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) is often commemorated in communities and synagogues with large mass gatherings, often attended by those most directly impacted by the horrors that occurred in Europe. While these gathering are important, the FJMC understood that Holocaust Remembrance needs to also take place in the home to allow people to reflect on the horrors of the Holocaust and how they effected the entire Jewish people, even generations later, and to also have a mechanism for families to gather for a moment to teach and to explain to the next generation the impact and the survival of that horrific moment in Jewish history. For over 40 years, families have come together to light the Yellow CandleTM, to remember, to teach, and not to forget.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

WHY THE YELLOW CANDLE?

The Candle is Yellow to remind us of the Yellow Star that Jews were forced to wear to identify them as Jews and open them to ridicule and persecution. Men’s Clubs and other organization order the Candle through this program and distribute them to their membership with a short explanation of the program. On the night of Yom HaShoah the candles are lit in homes across the globe to shine a light of memory, a light of education, and a light that we will never forget. By participating in this program, you are helping to keep the memory of the Shoah alive and to remember what happens when good people do not stand up.

By participating in this program, you build the next link in the chain of memory. Just as we light a Yahrzeit Candle to burn for 24 hours to remember a dear one who is no longer with us on the anniversary of their death, so too, once a year, we light a Yellow Yom HaShoah candle to burn 24 hours to remember our 6,000,000 brothers and sister who died for no other reason, but they were Jewish.  Join us in remembering.The tragedy of the Holocaust is not forgotten in order to prevent similar heinous crimes or a repeat offense. 

Sharing light for remembrance using the Yellow CandleTM, is not 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 touches.  


SHOAH YELLOW CANDLES – “OUR” HISTORY

Over seventy-five 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. 

BOOKENDS with Rabbi Edwin P. Farber. You remember evil with Yellow Candles, then go out and do good in the community.

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 CandleTM 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.  


“Hitler practiced racial anti-semitism, the worst kind. Anti-semitism is like a virus. It doesn’t go away, it keeps morphing. You’ve got to find a way to vaccinate against it.”  Rabbi Edwin P. Farber

“Some say the Holocaust couldn’t have been so bad, that humans could not have behaved so badly.  Once a year on Yom HaShoah, we pause and remember that the Holocaust must not be forgotten. The Yellow CandleTM is an opportunity to open the conversation with our children about evil.”

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________


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 CandleTM 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™ Guides are valuable resources for enhancing your observance of Yom HaShoah. We’re glad to answer all of your questions.

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

The Yellow Candle remains an important symbol and we want to suggest alternative opportunities for your Men’s Club to distribute and light a Yellow Candle, such as Kristallnacht, the 9th of AV or when reciting Yizkor. Lighting a Yellow 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:

● On Shavuot 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 (Pesach), on Shemini Atzeret (the eighth day of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles), and on the first or second day of Shavuot, depending if you celebrate 1 day or 2 (Feast of Weeks). Often people will light a Yahrzeit Candle on the day they recite Yizkor. 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, and 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. Rabbi Mario Rojzman at Beth Torah – Benny Rok Campus in N. Miami Beach encourages safe distribution of the Yellow Candles to congregants on Tisha B’Av, Tisha B’Av is the culmination of a three week period of mourning. “By combining the two commemorations on one date, may we bring light and focus to both;” says Rabbi Rojzman. “Our hearts may always be strong.”

● 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. Light a candle – preserve a memory.