By Benjamin Cohen, Past President, New England Region – FJMC
As Jews, it is our tradition to honor the memory of deceased family members by lighting a candle on the annual (Yahrzeit) date of their passing.
From 1938 to 1945, six million Jews – men, women and children – were systematically rounded up, transported to concentration camps, beaten, tortured, starved, medically experimented upon, worked to death and ultimately disposed in crematoria. For these people, there is nobody left to honor their memory by lighting a Yahrzeit candle.
I had an uncle who helped to liberate the Nazi death camps during the waning days of World War II. When he came home, he brought back evidence. He showed us pictures of what he encountered during those liberations. At the age of ten, I was exposed to the horrors of the Holocaust (Shoah).
As an historical tour guide, I now have the honor of taking groups along Boston’s Freedom Trail. In doing so, I make certain that I take them to and through the Holocaust Memorial located near Faneuil Hall.
There, I describe the memorial’s physical characteristics and what it symbolizes – namely the death of Six Million people who were slaughtered by Hitler and his henchmen for no other reason other than the fact that they were Jewish.
The world must never forget the Shoah, truly the darkest period in the history of the Jewish People. It is for that reason I urge you to purchase (obtain) and distribute Yellow Candles. These Yahrzeit candles should go to all members of every congregation, as a way of perpetuating that collective memory.
As the Yellow Candle program theme says, “Light a Candle, Preserve a Memory”.
Let us never forget. Zachor!