May 2 is Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day. Since 1959, on the 27th of Nissan, Jewish communities across the world officially commemorate the loss of the millions of Jews whose lives were extinguished by the Nazis.
In Canada, ceremonies and events at local Jewish institutions mark the day. In Poland, hundreds of Canadians will join thousands of Jews from around the world on March of the Living, to walk silently in the footsteps of the 1.1 million Jews executed at Auschwitz. They will honour the memory of those who perished and proclaim to the world that the Jewish people have not only survived but have thrived. Since 1988, over 13,000 Canadians have participated in this life changing experience.
Watch the 31st March of the Living from Auschwitz to Birkenau on May 2nd at 7:30 A.M. EDT at motl.org/live
In Israel, an official state ceremony on May 1st at 1:00P.M EDT (8:00P.M. in Israel) at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem marks the start of Yom HaShoah. Watch it live here . At 10:00 A.M., on May 2nd, an air raid siren will sound across Israel as everybody stops in their tracks to observe two minutes of solemn reflection.
Yom Hashoah is a valuable opportunity to acknowledge the resilient spirit and strength of the Jewish people, who throughout history have defied attempts at destruction.
It is also a day to honour the brave survivors who rebuilt their lives in Canada after the Holocaust. They have made significant contributions to the national Jewish community, by educating generations of Canadians about the Holocaust. In sharing their stories, they are keeping alive the memory of destroyed communities and families. This year, we congratulate survivor Max Eisen, on winning the Canada Reads 2019 top award for his moving memoir 'By Chance Alone'.
Unfortunately, there will come a day when the survivors are no longer able to tell their story. Jewish Federations of Canada - UIA is invested in the March of the Living Archive Project, which records footage of March of the Living accompanying survivors sharing their stories. Their testimonies will be archived for viewing by future generations.
On this somber day, we reflect on the tragic past of the Jewish people, while also proclaiming our gratitude for today and our hope for tomorrow. We encourage you to take a moment to reflect on your personal blessings and honour the people that have enhanced our lives.
With antisemitism on the rise globally, we proclaim to the world Never Again. We must continue to stand together and speak in one voice in support and defense of Israel and the Jewish faith and culture.
Leslie Gales, Chair
Nikki Holland, President & CEO