Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Remembrance Service (excerpt)
We come together to commemorate a period of history known as the Holocaust or the Shoah. We pause to remember what happened, and to assert our commitment to a world in which all people will live side-by-side without hatred, without bigotry, without violence.
Together: We come together in sorrow.
We mourn those who lost their lives, and we mourn an entire Jewish way of life that perished with them. We seek to make our own lives worthy of their incredible suffering and sacrifice. We seek to affirm our own humanity by recalling theirs.
Together: We come together in anger.
We are angry, if not blind with rage and hatred, at those responsible for the murder of six million Jews, for the murder of two million children, for the murder of twelve million people of various nationalities and backgrounds, for a campaign of annihilation and destruction, for years of systematic and relentless mass murder.
Together: We come together in hope.
We hope that each and every person will be valued, that differences will be accepted rather than condemned, and that justice and morality will prevail. We hope we can create a future with no more genocides, no more mass murders, no more holocausts. We hope we will have the wisdom to recognize evil, and the courage to resist it.
We light six candles to remember the light of six million souls Extinguished in the Holocaust
Today we commemorate the death of six million Jews at the hands of the Nazis. Jews were among thirty five million people dead from all causes related to World War II. Jews were among twelve million civilians murdered by the Nazis in concentration camps, cities, villages, ghettos, fields, ravines, trains and trucks. In addition to the murder of six million Jews, the Nazis murdered people who were Polish, people who were Russian, people who were Gypsies (Romani or Sinti), people who were Jehovah‘s Witnesses, people who were Catholic, people who were gay, people who were communists, people who were socialists, people who had physical disabilities, people who had mental disabilities. They murdered people who crossed their path, people who hinted at resistance, people who fell into the black hole of the Nazi death machine by accident.
We remember all who were murdered—Jews and gentiles—victims, martyrs, heroes. We honor those who died because they were Jews...those who died because they helped Jews...those who died because they resisted the Nazis...those who died because they were marked for death out of the same perverse ideology...those who died simply because the death machine was so big, so embracing, so arbitrary.
The service continues with musical selections, poetry, silent meditation and reflective readings.