The State of Israel marked the official start of Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day Wednesday evening with an official opening ceremony at Warsaw Ghetto Square at Yad Vashem, Mount of Remembrance, Jerusalem.
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both delivered remarks; Yad Vashem Council Chairman Rabbi Israel Meir Lau kindled the Memorial Torch; and Zipora Nahir spoke on behalf of the survivors.
During the ceremony, Holocaust survivors lit six torches. The torch lighters included: First torch: Mirjam Lapid, second torch: Shmuel Bogler, third torch: Thea Friedman, fourth torch: Raul Teitelbaum, fifth torch: Yisaschar Dov Goldstein, sixth torch: Abba Naor.
The audience and those at home were able to watch short videos about each of the torch lighters during the ceremony. The videos, produced and directed by Shlomo Hazan, are still available on the Yad Vashem website, under ‘Holocaust Remembrance Day 2018.’
Singers Meshi Kleinstein and Amir Dadon and the IDF Paratroopers’ Honor Guard also participated in the ceremony, which also included narrative pieces by actor Dror Keren. The evening’s emcee was Sara Beck.
The ceremony featured a traditional memorial service, including the recitation of a chapter from Psalms by Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel Rabbi David Lau. The Rishon LeZion, Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef recited the Kaddish mourner’s prayer, and Cantor Zvi Weiss recited El Maleh Rahamim, the Jewish prayer for the souls of the martyrs.
The Yad Vashem mini-site, dedicated to the solemn day of remembrance, offers information about the events and ceremonies that are taking place during Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, as well as various educational materials.
Yad Vashem continues to call on the public to fill out Pages of Testimony to commemorate the names of Jews murdered during the Holocaust. Volunteers are available to help Holocaust survivors submit Pages of Testimony. For more information: +972-2-6443111
Yad Vashem is also continuing the Gathering the Fragments campaign in an effort to rescue more Holocaust-related documents, artifacts, photographs and artworks, and interview, document and record video testimonies of survivors. For more information or to schedule a session: +972-6443888, firstname.lastname@example.org
Throughout the day Thursday, Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies is also running a variety of activities for educational groups from Israel and abroad.