Maccabi GB lights up the Community online on Yom HaShoah with 50,000 Yellow Candles
There were 50,000 Yellow Candles lit on Monday night, 20th April, the eve of Yom HaShoah – the annual Jewish Remembrance Day for victims of the Holocaust. Yellow Candle, which is a unique, informal educational tool is managed by Maccabi GB and with the help of the Yellow Candle Committee, enabled members of the community and beyond to remember those who lost their lives in the Holocaust. Whilst candles were originally available through over 300 Synagogues, Schools, Kosher shops, Community Centres and All Aboard shops, changes had to be made due to the UK lockdown for COVID 19 to ensure tens of thousands of households were still able to receive their Yellow Candles.
Families and individuals both nationally and internationally took part in the initiative by posting a photo of their lit Yellow Candle on social media using the #yellowcandle and tagging the page Yellow Candle UK. Yellow Candles were also lit by leading figures in politics and entertainment, including Ambassador of Israel to the United Kingdom Mark Regev, Ambassador of Israel to Hungary Yacov Hadas-Handelsman and Former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Lord Eric Pickles.
The Yellow Candle project would not have been possible without the generous support of the Betty Messenger Charitable Foundation and the Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust as well as hundreds of other individual donors, who all supported the “Light a Candle Give a Gift and Never Forget” initiative.
New for 2020 was the Yellow Candle website – www.yellowcandleuk.org. Developed in partnership with PaJeS, a broad range of educational resources were made available including a Home Ceremony template. Maccabi GB hopes that this database of educational resources will continue to grow in years to come.
These unprecedented times saw another first for the Yellow Candle project, with a virtual Yellow Candle lighting ceremony broadcast as part of the National Yom HaShoah UK Ceremony. One hundred families lit their Yellow Candles in unison in a very poignant and moving moment during the evening’s proceedings.
Maccabi GB Chairman David Pinnick said “In unique circumstances the Jewish Community came together to memorialise those that perished in the Holocaust. At Maccabi GB we believe that it is our responsibility to perpetuate the memory of those that were taken and those that experienced the worst of human nature. This is why we manage the Yellow Candle Project, it is a small but vital tool in the education of the next generation of Jews who now need to ensure that they continue to remember and amplify that remembrance far and wide. Despite the difficult circumstances, 50,000 Yellow Candles were distributed and they lit up social media for a number of hours. Trending number 2 on Twitter nationally for much of the evening.
“We were honoured to play a small part in the Yom HaShoah event that had to move online. Whilst it would have been nice to be able to attend such an event in person there was something special about reaching a greater audience via technology. There is little doubt that the UK Jewish community has taken Yellow Candle to its heart and Maccabi GB will continue to do everything we can do ensure Yellow Candle remains a symbol of remembrance of the Holocaust in the UK and beyond. "
Samantha Cohen, Yellow Candle Committee member said “The Yellow Candle project began with a tiny group of volunteers 4 years ago and it has been such a privilege to play a part in something that has captured the imagination so powerfully. Just as the Seder is the central moment of Pesach, so too Yom HaShoah now has an established ritual in every Jewish home, in every part of the community, and has even proved relevant in this awful Coronavirus period. As a second-generation survivor, I can think of no better way for the current generation to continue the legacy of the survivors and to remember those who died. On behalf of the committee of volunteers who brought this initiative to the UK, I want to thank Maccabi GB for their incredible investment and dedication to this project. "
Schools, organisations and individuals are able to register their interest in receiving Yellow Candles for Yom HaShoah 2021 via the website www.yellowcandleuk.org