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May 1, 2011May 1, 2011  0 comments  Jewish Holidays

I just returned this evening from the Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony held annually on this third to last day of the month of Nissan. I've been to six ceremonies since moving to Israel six years ago, and despite everything I know about the Holocaust (and being the child of a survivor I do know quite a bit) I'm always newly shocked by the stories that I hear from other survivors.


Each year, the city of Ra'ananna organizes a powerful hour of programming in commemoration of the Holocaust. Amidst the moving vocal tributes, six Holocaust survivors are individually escorted by young students to the outdoor stage at the city's Yad Labanim (city center) where they light six candles, each candle representing one million Jews who perished in the hands of the Nazis. As each survivor walks slowly to the stage to light his candle, a narrator tells the survivor's story. One woman, Lily, survived years of moving from camp to camp with little food, while everyone else in her family, excepting one sister, was torn away from her and murdered in the gas chambers. Lily  managed to emigrate to Israel on a boat, the Exodus, where she met her husband. Together they bore two boys, both of which became Israeli Airforce pilots, and are still flying today. The audience cheered, and I had chills going down my spine.


The other five survivors honored tonight all had similar stories of survival. They all had bore children, grandchildren and several even had great grandchildren. Each had succeeded in defying the Nazis and while they all had lost most of their families, they'd somehow managed to create new lives for themselves, lives filled with children, hope and a Jewish future.


Life continues and hopefully the world will also remember. We remembered tonight, as we do each day here in Israel.


Tomorrow, May 2, at 10 am there will be a two minute siren and people all over the country will stop whatever they are doing be it driving a car, washing dishes, teaching in a school, they will stop. And they will stand in silence for two full minutes. We remember, because we have to remember.


Last year, one of our contributors Kasey Bar, authored a very moving blog about Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, and she provided her insight as a Christian living here. If you missed it - now is the time to reread this very special article. Click here to read Kasey Barr's Silence that Overpowers


Elisa Moed is the Founder and CEO of Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land.


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