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Remembering victims, resisting violence and renouncing evil

 

A prayer for Holocaust Remembrance Day

by the Rev. Dr. David Gambrell, Office of Theology & Worship | Special to Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah). First observed in 1951, this commemoration has become an international day of remembrance for those who perished in the Holocaust. It takes place on the 27th day of the month of Nisan in the Jewish calendar, which occurs on April 20/21, 2020 (in Jewish tradition, the new day begins at sunset).

As we confront the coronavirus and live into the reality of the human crisis of our time, we remember all who suffered from the great evil and violence of that time. And in remembering, we join in prayer to “commit ourselves, this day and always, to work for reconciliation in the world, until Earth and heaven embrace.”

 

The following prayer is offered by the Office of Theology & Worship of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. It incorporates an allusion to the April 1951 speech in the Israeli legislature first calling for such an observance, as well as a reference to Psalm 85. It seeks to connect this commemoration with the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s commitment to dismantle structural racism as part of the Matthew 25 vision.

 

Heaven and Earth cry out to you, O Lord,
and your people join their lamentation.
We remember the six million Jews
who were killed in the Holocaust.
We remember other victims of Nazi violence:
LGBTQ, disabled, and Romani people.
We remember those who gave their lives
to save others and resist the genocide.
We renounce the evil of anti-Semitism
and other forms of hatred and prejudice.
We commit ourselves, this day and always,
to work for reconciliation in the world,
until Earth and heaven embrace
with steadfast love and faithfulness,
righteousness and peace.

To learn more about the commemoration of Yom HaShoah, see “Mishkan Moeid: A Guide to the Jewish Seasons,” Rabbi Peter S. Knobel, ed. (Central Conference of American Rabbis, 2013). 


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