A Week of Remembrance and Celebration

By Jessica Goldfarb, JFGC Communications Specialist

As the holidays of Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikaron, and Yom Ha’Atzmaut approach, their significance has taken on a new and profound meaning this year. Against the backdrop of a world that is grappling with a resurgence of antisemitism and challenges from the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, the observance of these holidays serves as a chance to bear witness in solidarity with Israel.

According to the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) January report, incidents of antisemitism have surged by a staggering 360% since October 7. In the face of such adversity, Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, assumes an even greater purpose. It serves as a poignant reminder of the horrors of the past and a call to vigilance against the forces of hatred and bigotry facing us today. This year’s Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance Day Community Commemoration on May 5 at 4 p.m. at Temple Beth El will include the lighting of six memorial candles to represent the six million Jews who perished, recitation of the Mourner’s Kaddish, and a moment to recognize Holocaust survivors living in our Charlotte community. Carolyn Dorfman Dance will present a powerfully moving performance of excerpts (with narration) from Carolyn Dorfman’s Legacy Project, which gives voice to those who were silenced in the Holocaust.

Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, also resonates with deeper meaning this year. Tragically, there are more names to remember and more lives lost in the pursuit of peace for Israel. Yet amidst the sorrow, there is a profound sense of unity and solidarity, as Israelis and Jews throughout the world come together to honor the fallen and support one another. The community will join together on May 13 at 6 p.m. in the Sam Lerner Center for Cultural Arts at Shalom Park as we unite in heart and spirit for our community-wide Yom HaZikaron commemoration. We will honor the bravery and sacrifice of Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism, keeping their memories alive in solemn reflection and gratitude. This special gathering offers a moment to remember the victims of October 7, connect with our people, and honor the profound sacrifices being made.

The transition from Yom HaZikaron to Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel Independence Day, symbolizes a journey from mourning to celebration, from reflection to resilience. This year, however, the celebration takes on a greater significance as it becomes a testament to the unwavering determination of the Israeli people in the face of war and terrorism. Despite the myriad of challenges, Israel has remained steadfast as a symbol of hope for Jewish people worldwide. We reflect and celebrate amidst the echoes of October 7, reaffirming our spirit and quest for peace. This day honors the courage of those who safeguard the State of Israel and stands as a symbol of our hope and strength as a Jewish people. Let’s embrace Yom Ha’Atzmaut on May 15 at 5 p.m. at Shalom Park as a symbol of hope and strength as a Jewish people. This event will include music, food, and more.

For Jewish Americans, these three holidays carry a special significance, serving as a bridge that connects us to our heritage and homeland. In light of recent events, our community may be feeling a heightened sense of sol-

idarity with Israel and a deeper appreciation for the values that it embodies. These holidays become a reaffirmation of our shared identity and a source of inspiration as we, as Jewish people, navigate the complexities of our own lives and communities.

As we commemorate Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikaron, and Yom Ha’Atzmaut this year, let us reflect on the lessons of the past, honor the sacrifices of the fallen, and celebrate the resilience of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. In doing so, we reaffirm our commitment to combating antisemitism, promoting peace, and building a brighter future for generations to come.

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