The Yellow Candle - Yom Hashoah Program
Over seventy years ago, half of the earth's Jewish population perished at the hands of another Amalek, an Austrian house painter who seized control of Europe and threw the earth into darkness. God's light unto the other nations flickered but did not die. A new, modern Exodus arose from the depths of despair and tragedy. From the ashes of Europe, survivors of the Holocaust, or Shoah, made their way towards new lives. Emigrants dispersed around the world, to the new State of Israel and to the western hemisphere. In these places, they began to rebuild shattered lives. In the following decades, survivors asked another question. How could Yahrzeits be observed for those victims whose entire families had been wiped out? An idea was born, a special memorial candle with yellow wax, in remembrance of the yellow stars forced upon European Jews in the 1930s.
NEVER AGAIN! “The Holocaust was the most evil crime ever committed.”
- Historian Stephen Ambrose
NEVER AGAIN! “I made the visit [to Buchenwald, April 12, 1945] deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda.’” - General Dwight D. Eisenhower
NEVER AGAIN! “To this day, there are those who insist that the Holocaust never happened -- a denial of fact that is baseless and ignorant and hateful.”
- President Barack Obama
A video from the artist who created the new "Yellow Candle"
NEVER AGAIN! “To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time…Not only are we responsible for the memories of the dead, we are also responsible for what we are doing with those memories. For the dead and the living we must bear witness.”
- Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel
NEVER AGAIN! “When we come to the other world and meet the millions of Jews who died in the camps and they ask us, 'What have you done?' there will be many answers. You will say, 'I became a jeweler.' Another will say, 'I smuggled coffee and American cigarettes.' Another will say, 'I built houses.' But I will say, 'I didn't forget you.'”
- Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal
NEVER AGAIN! “To us, recollection is a holy act; we sanctify the present by remembering the past. To us Jews, the essence of faith is memory. To believe is to remember.
- Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
As I light this Yellow Candle, I vow never to forget the lives of the Jewish men, women, and children who were martyred and are symbolized by this flame. They were tortured and brutalized by human beings who acted like beasts; their lives were taken in cruelty. May we be inspired to learn more about our six million brothers and sisters as individuals and as communities, to recall their memory throughout the year, so that they will not suffer a double death. May we recall not only the terror of their deaths, but also the splendor of their lives. May the memory of their lives inspire us to hallow our own lives and to live meaningful Jewish lives so that we may help to insure that part of who they were shall endure always.
(please remeber to check off MRJ when ordering)
WASHINGTON – The people have voted and American democracy is strong. We respect that vote and we extend our hand to President-elect Trump. We also extend our hand to the members of the 115th Congress. These leaders will have critical decisions to make that will weigh on the future of our nation, our communities, our families and the entire world. We hope that they govern with wisdom and righteousness to create a space where all Americans are respected.
President-elect Trump has the opportunity to use his office to bring Americans together, and to move us toward a brighter future. If he does so, we will be ready to work with him for the common good. If he does not, we also stand ready to be fierce advocates for the values that guide us: inclusivity, justice and compassion.
This week we read Parsha Lech Lecha with its clarion call to “go forth.” Just as Abraham went out into a place of great uncertainty, we now find ourselves in an unanticipated time and place. But we know, like Abraham, that our faith and enduring values will be a strong foundation as we move forward. We love the stranger, feed the hungry and care for the orphan and the widow.
Throughout our Reform Movement's history, our congregations, institutions, rabbis, cantors, other professionals and lay leaders have striven to bring all of us together to strengthen and to sustain one another, and to work together in the pursuit of justice for everyone. We welcome all: Jews and non-Jews, people of all races and religions, of all sexual orientations and the immigrants among us. That welcome is the essence of who we are as a community, and who we are as a country, and that remains as true today as it has ever been.
As we pray each week in our synagogues on Shabbat in the Prayer for our Nation, we ask God for guidance for ourselves and for our nation, to grant our leaders the wisdom and forbearance to govern with justice and compassion. We ask God to help us appreciate one another and to respect the many ways that we may be faithful to the ways of righteousness, and to keep our country sound in body and spirit.
Union for Reform Judaism
Daryl Messinger, Chair, North American Board of Trustees
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President
Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rabbi Denise L. Eger, President
Rabbi Steven A. Fox, Chief Executive
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Isabel P. Dunst, Chair, Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director
Advancing Temple Institutional Development
American Conference of Cantors
Association of Reform Jewish Educators
Association of Reform Zionists of America
Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism
Men of Reform Judaism
North American Federation of Temple Youth
Women of Reform Judaism
Women’s Rabbinic Network
World Union for Progressive Judaism
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in "Inside Leadership"
Jewish Men's Groups Agree to an Unprecedented Collaboration
Link to a story on our collaboration as published by JTA
Further coverage of our collaboration
Originating the position within URJ, is Evan Traylor, who is the "Presidential Fellow for Millennial Engagement"
Here is a link to a blog piece written by Evan on one of favorite topics - Millenials
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