Yom HaShoah commemorates the worst crime in human history: the Genocide against the Jewish People, devised, planned and executed as state policy by Nazi Germany and its numerous henchmen.
When 72 years have passed since the "Final Solution" (the Nazi euphemism for the genocide of Jews), maintaining the memory of those victims is truly challenging. The vast carnage took the lives of one third of the Jewish People - 6 million, of whom 1½ million were children; the overwhelming majority of Holocaust survivors alive today were children in 1945. Almost no adult survivors alive in 1945 are still with us today. Thus, maintaining the memory of this horrendous period is yet more difficult.
To maintain the memory of our liberation from the yoke of oppression in Egypt, Pessach established many practices - Seder Night, prohibition of chametz, eating Matzah, and so forth. For Yom HaShoah the State of Israel established a practice that imposes the duty of memory: nationwide sounding of sirens for a full minute at 10 AM on Yom HaShoah morning. This extraordinary moment always stuns visitors to Israel, a mix of stupor, astonishment and ultimately, admiration: all Israelis immediately stop what they are doing, stand and bow their heads in solemn respect to the memory of the victims. In the streets and on the highways, drivers stop where they are, step out and stand in silent pain until the wail of sirens dies away.
So here's a Maccabi response, a clever initiative to move the Israeli national experience of Shoah memory worldwide: #paremos1minuto - "let's stand/stop for a minute" It's a simple effective idea: on Monday, April 24, at 10AM in each country, in each time zone, Jewish Communities worldwide are invited to emulate the Israeli ritual: stop & stand for 1 minute of respectful silence, while the siren sounds. The initiative is explained in a 90-second clip (English subtitles):
Pick up the sound of the siren from this clip:
This year, in the community where you are, individually or collectively, stop for a minute, as we do in Israel, to evoke those children, adults, and elderly Jews murdered in the Shoah. This year, and into the future, let's all
#paremos1minuto - "let's stand/stop for a minute".
In this hour of pain and immeasurable loss,May God grant that we shall be worthy continuers of the message of life and actionbequeathed to us by the murdered victims and the survivors, multiplying Jewish life everywhere through our decisive action in all the Jewish communities in the world, and in our magnificent center, the State of Israel.
During this Yom HaShoah, may God grant that we shall remember the extraordinary content, flowering creativity and productivity of the individual lives and Jewish communities so brutally uprooted.
May God always protect the State of Israel!
And may we always remember, bless, honor and perpetuate by our deeds the lives of the Six Million, for we are their Living Memorial.
Rabbi Carlos A. Tapiero
Deputy Director-General & Director of Education
Maccabi World Union