SAINT AUGUSTINE: Communities around the world are gathering to commemorate Yom HaShoah, the Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust, and celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day.
The full name of Yom HaShoah means literally the “Day of (Remembrance of) the Holocaust and the Heroism.” It is marked on the 27th day in the Hebrew month of Nisan – a week after the seventh day of Passover, and a week before Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day for Israel’s fallen soldiers).
In 2018, Yom HaShoah starts the evening of April 11 and ends the evening of April 12.
Jews in North America observe Yom HaShoah within the synagogue as well as in the broader Jewish community. Commemorations range from synagogue services to communal vigils and educational programs.
Israel’s Independence Day is celebrated on the fifth day of the Hebrew month of Iyar, which is the Hebrew date of the formal establishment of the State of Israel, when members of the “provisional government” read and signed a Declaration of Independence in Tel Aviv. The original date corresponded to May 14, 1948. In 2018, the 70th anniversary of Israel’s Independence Day begins at sundown on April 18.
Yom Ha’atzmaut in Israel is always preceded by Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day for the fallen soldiers. The message of linking these two days is clear: Israelis owe their independence – the very existence of the state – to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for it.
For American Jews, celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut has been a way to express solidarity with the state of Israel and to strengthen their alliance with it. In many communities, it is one of few occasions in which Jewish organizations and synagogues of different ideologies and denominations cooperate in forming a common celebration.
Please join us as we commemorate Yom HaShoah and celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut with Rabbi Joel Fox on April 13 at 7:30 pm, and April 14 at 10 am, at First Congregation Sons of Israel (the oldest synagogue in the Nation’s oldest City), 161 Cordova Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084. For more information, call (904) 829-9532 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.