Yom HaShoah in Church

I wrote this blog post over two years ago when I was still attending a church. In fact, it was the last year I attended church. Yom HaShoah isn’t the reason I quit, but re-reading this reminded me that even a “Pro-Israel” and “Pro-Jewish people” church can still have a lot to learn.

This year, Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day begins tonight at sundown and extends for the next 24 hours. Don’t forget. Don’t let your children forget. According to this article, “in 2013, a survey of more than 53,000 respondents in 101 countries found that only 54 percent of the world’s adults had even heard of the Holocaust — and of those, one-third believe it is either a myth or has been greatly exaggerated.”

The world is already forgetting or at least disbelieving. That’s why we have to keep the memory alive. We’re moving dangerously close to repeating the sins of the past.

Morning Meditations

Passover this year was not a festival of freedom for Alisa Flatow of West Orange, New Jersey. The Brandies junior was rendered brain dead by a piece of shrapnel on April 9, when a Palestinian suicide bomber drove his van of explosives into a busload of Israelis near Kfar Darom in the Gaza Strip.

-Ismar Schorsch
“To Love Our Neighbor is Not Enough,” pg 413, May 6, 1995
Commentary on Torah Portion Kedoshim
Canon Without Closure: Torah Commentaries

No one is ever to say, “I am too old to worry about the welfare of the next generation.”

“The Ethic of Stewardship,” pg 417, May 10, 1997

In short, holiness is a matter of deeds, not words.

“What is Holiness?” pg 419, April 23, 1994

You may be wondering what all of these quotes have to do with Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Memorial Day. I’m sure Schorsch’s commentaries on…

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One thought on “Yom HaShoah in Church”

  1. I want to bring these quotations of a few paragraphs over from one of your last links. There’s a lot of additional interesting material in the same article at My Jewish Learning (for Yom HaShoah).

    *There have been numerous attempts to compose special liturgy (text and music) for Yom Hashoah. In 1988 the Reform movement published Six Days of Destruction. This book, co-authored by Elie Wiesel and Rabbi Albert Friedlander, was meant to be viewed as a “sixth scroll,” a modern addition to the five scrolls that are read on specific holidays. Six narratives from Holocaust survivors are juxtaposed to the six days of creation found in Genesis.

    One of the most recent achievements is Megillat Hashoah (The Holocaust Scroll) created by the Conservative movement as a joint project of rabbis and lay leaders in Canada, the U.S., and Israel. This Holocaust scroll contains personal recollections of Holocaust survivors and is written in biblical style. It was composed under the direction of Avigdor Shinan, a professor at Hebrew University.*

    There are links to those “scrolls” where their names appear there.

    *Some Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox rabbis have never endorsed this memorial day, nor have they formally rejected it. There is no change in the daily religious services in Orthodox synagogues on Yom Hashoah. The Orthodox Rabbinate of Israel attempted to promote the Tenth of Tevet — a traditional fast day commemorating the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem in ancient times — as the “General Kaddish Day” in which Jews should recite the memorial prayer and light candles in memory of those who perished in the Holocaust. Several ultra-Orthodox rabbis have recommended adding piyyutim (religious poems) that were written by contemporary rabbis to the liturgy of Tisha B’Av and many communities follow this custom.*

    *The date was selected by the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) on April 12, 1951. The full name [Yom Hashoah Ve-Hagevurah – literally the “Day of (Remembrance of) the Holocaust and the Heroism”] became formal in a law that was enacted by the Knesset on August 19, 1953. Although the date was established by the Israeli government, it has become a day commemorated by Jewish communities and individuals worldwide.*

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