Yom Hashoah – Canberra

May 6, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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The ACT Jewish Community in conjunction with the Executive Council of Australian Jewry has hosted the National Yom HaShoah Ceremony in the nation’s capital.

The theme for this year’s Yom Hashoah’s ceremony was how the next generation engages with the holocaust. The ceremony was attended by the Israeli Ambassador, Shmuel Ben Shmuel, the German Deputy Head of Mission Mr Josef Reichhardt, Federal and Local politicians, and other members of the diplomatic community. Rabbi Meltzer stated “To

Yom Hashoah - Canberra Photo: Eldad Ohyaon

Yom Hashoah – Canberra
Photo: Eldad Ohyaon

represent the Australian Jewry, especially the large proportion of holocaust survivors, and their families who made their homes, and contributed to the very best of Australia’s society, to the highest level of government is a sacred duty that we hold dear. To share with the diplomatic corp the horrors of our collective past, with a message of never again, is an opportunity to continue our story and ensure that humanity is always on display.”

Ms Yael Cass, the President of the ACT Jewish Community and a Vice President of the ECAJ, shared with those in attendance the importance of the evening, the solemnity of our memories, and that in essence it is a time for us to stand with survivors, share their pain and ensure that no one can forget. The ceremony included readings from young members of the community, choral pieces from the ACT Jewish Community Choir, and the lighting of memorial candles by survivors accompanied by the next generation.

Attendees were addressed by Josh Bloom, a participant of the March of the Living in 2011, who went on to become a chayal boded, a lone soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces. He shared an account of how he made the decision to fight, as so many have done before him, for his right to be Jewish, and to continue the legacy of so many that did not have the opportunity to do so. “I remember one day, I was sitting with my group leader on Mt Herzl, which is where all of Israel’s political and military leaders are buried. I thought to myself, ‘What a contrast to Poland. Here, people died FOR something they believe in, whereas in the Holocaust, people were led to their slaughter because of who they were. I believed that it was not only my duty, but my privilege to be able to defend the Jewish homeland, a place that those who perished in the Holocaust could only dream of.”

Rabbi Meltzer in his invocation summed up the need of such a national ceremony, “We ask you to ensure that the world does not forget, that there does not come a time when children and adults alike will not know the atrocities of those who sought to destroy us.”


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