Yom HaShoah is an officially translates to “Remembrance Day for the Holocaust and Heroism,” but often called as “Holocaust Remembrance Day.” It is an occasion to commemorate the lives and heroism of the six million Jewish people who died in the Holocaust between 1933 and 1945. Yom HaShoah is on the 27th day of Nisan, the first month of the ecclesiastical year in the Jewish calendar. The date selected in a resolution passed by Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, on April 12, 1951. Although the Israeli government established the date, it has become a day commemorated by Jewish communities and individuals worldwide.
The day’s official name – Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day – was made formal in a law enacted by the Knesset on August 19, 1953; on March 4, 1959, the Knesset passed another law which determined that tribute to victims of the Holocaust and ghetto uprisings paid in public observances.
History of Yom HaShoah
The proposal was to hold Yom HaShoah on the 14th of Nisan, the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto upraised on April 19, 1943, but this was problematic because the 14th of Nisan is the day immediately before Passover. The date moved to the 27th of Nisan, which is eight days before Yom Ha’atzma’ut and also called as Israeli Independence Day. And many Orthodox Jews has commemorated the Holocaust on Yom HaShoah, and others in an Orthodox community like Haredim are unique, like Tisha b’Av in the summer, and in the winter, because in the Jewish tradition the month of Nisan is considered as a joyous month associated with Passover including messianic redemption.
Ismar Schorsch who is the former Chancellor of Conservative Judaism’s Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Holocaust commemoration holding should take place on Tisha b’Av.
How to Celebrate Yom HaShoah
Yom HaShoah is a prescribed time to commemorate, honor and reflect on those who endured the pain, suffering, and loss as a result of the Holocaust. Especially true because if the Holocaust has touches your family either through personal loss or survivors. Because Jewish festivals contain moments of remembrance and family, the modern holiday of Yom HaShoah is a perfect time to honor deceased family members as well. Lasting tributes such as contributions to charities, hospitals or hospices, synagogues or other organizations provide meaningful memorials for departed loved ones.
The celebration would not disrupt the mourning traditions of Shiva. However, during the holiday, it would be permissible for the family to attend congregational services, but they should not participate in any leadership role. Because of the painful time loss, a rabbi should consult for proper procedures for mourning during the holiday.