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Rabbi’s Message: Yom HaShoah & Commemoration

04/28/2022 05:17:03 PM


Dear OZ family,


The choice of the 27th of Nissan for Yom Hashoah is underscored by its original name. The day to commemorate the horrors of the Holocaust was originally called Yom Hashoah Ugevurah, and was situated between the end of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and Israel’s Independence Day, which we will celebrate next week. Nissan is a full month of celebration, while most of Iyar is a month of mourning for the tragic losses of so many students around the time of the Bar Kochba revolts, so we mourn on a day in Nissan and celebrate on a day in Iyar. This underscores the profound fluctuations in the destiny of our people in the past 90 years.


Our memories strengthen with time. We still mourn the loss of Rabbi Akiva’s students, close to 2,000 years after their deaths. The tragedies facing Medieval Ashkenazic Jewry at this time of year, canonized in some of the Tisha B’av Kinot, added to the mourning customs between Pesach and Shavuot. The youngest among us must continue to bear witness and testify to the things they hear and see on Yom Hashoah, to tell the next generations who will not hear these stories first hand. Year after year, we close out the Maggid section of the Haggadah by proclaiming that every generation must bear witness to keep our tragic memories alive.


We do this every year, and we will commemorate Yom Hashoah with a community event at Ohab Zedek this evening, beginning at 6:45pm. Michael Baror, the Counselor for Human Rights and Social Affairs at the Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN, will speak about the recent General Assembly proclamation regarding the Holocaust. We will include candle lighting, recitation of Tehillim, Kel Maleh, and conclude with the singing of Hatikvah as we look ahead to Yom Ha’atzmaut next week. A Zoom link is available at


I have posted a few brief video clips on our West Side WhatsAppp group that remind us of hope and achdut - click here to join.


Rabbi Allen Schwartz


Rabbi Allen Schwartz

Congregation Ohab Zedek

118 West 95th Street | New York, NY  10025-6604

Phone 212.749-5150, ext 200 | Fax 212.663-3635



Fri, June 21 2024 15 Sivan 5784