The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum reminds us that “the internationally recognized date for Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. It marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom Hashoah.
This year Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed on May 5, 2016. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) invites Presbyterians to join in remembering on this day.
Here is a litany of lighting candles for Holocaust Rememberance Day:
The Lighting of Memorial Candles
One: We light candles in memory of those who were killed during the Holocaust. We remember the six million Jews. We remember Poles, people with disabilities, Slavs, gays, lesbians, Gypsies, Soviet prisoners of war, political opponents, religious dissidents, and the others who were killed during this time. We remember those who resisted and those who offered refuge and provided rescue. As we light these candles, we acknowledge our responsibility for one another. We commit that we will build on this earth a world that has no room for hatred, no place for violence. Together, we ask God to grant us strength that we might fulfill that commitment.
(Invite the members of the congregation to stand as representatives of the community light the candles. While they are being lit, the community joins in praying a portion of Psalm 22.)
One: My God, my God,
why have you forsaken me?
why are you so far from helping me,
from the words of my groaning?
All: O my God,
I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but ?nd no rest.
One: Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our ancestors trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
All: To you they cried,
and were saved;
in you they trusted,
and were not put to shame.
(Allow a period of silence. Invite the members of the congregation to sit.)
Inspired by Liturgies on the Holocaust, Marcia Sachs Littell, ed. (Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1986)
Read Christians and the Holocaust, posted by the Office on Interfaith Relations, for more information. This prayer appears in Justice and Peace Shall Kiss: Praying through the Year a book of prayers by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. Call (800) 524-2612; order PDS 24358-09-001; $3.00 plus shipping and handling.
Find additional education resources on the Holocaust from the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme.