(EJNews) – On April 24, 2017, chilly weather and a grey threatening sky provided a damp and somber backdrop for a solemn Yom Hashoah ceremony. The annual service was held at the site of the Holocaust Memorial Monument located at the Alberta legislature grounds in Edmonton to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day.
A short program was held that included the Talmud Torah choir accompanied by their teacher Moreh Ben Ragosin opening the event with the singing of the National Anthem. Speakers included Jewish Federation of Edmonton President Ellery Lew, Rabbi Kliel Rose (Edmonton Beth Shalom), Rabbi Daniel Friedman (Edmonton Beth Israel), Councillor Mike Oshry, MLA Ricardo Miranda, as well as Stephanie Hendin and Gillian Horwitz representing the Jewish Federation of Edmonton Holocaust Education committee.
A candle lighting ceremony was conducted by Holocaust survivors who are members of the Edmonton Jewish community as well as second and third generation survivors. The ceremony honoured the memory of the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust at the hands of the Nazis and their accessories.
The Talmud Torah choir performed Eli Eli (Oh G-d my Lord), a Hebrew folk song whose lyrics were written by Hannah Szenes, a Jewish heroine of World War II, who was killed after being captured in Hungary during an effort to save Allied prisoners of war and organize Jewish resistance.
The Jewish Federation of Edmonton sponsored the event which concluded with the singing of Ha Tikvah.
Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement on April 23, 2017 to commemorate Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day:
“At sundown tonight, Jewish communities and others in Canada and around the world will unite to commemorate the lives of the six million Jews who were systematically murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
“Memorial candles will be lit to honour victims and survivors. The Mourner’s Kaddish will be repeated, reaffirming the commitment of the Jewish people to G-d in the face of tragedy.
“The atrocities carried out during the Holocaust have caused some people to ask whether it is possible to still have faith in humanity. Yom HaShoah teaches us that we must maintain that faith. To honour the victims of the Holocaust is to recognize their humanity, which no human act can erase.
“At Auschwitz this year, participants in the March of the Living will walk in silence as a testament to the resilience of the survivors of the Holocaust. In Israel, a whole nation will pause as air raid sirens sound in remembrance. Here in Canada, events across the country will be held to commemorate those who perished, and to honour the survivors, and those who risked their lives to save others.
“Today, I call on all Canadians to guard against a resurgence of anti-Semitism and racism, and to fight all forms of hatred and discrimination, whenever and wherever they occur. It is up to all of us to bring meaning to the solemn vow: ‘Never again.’
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I extend our thoughts and prayers to all those observing Yom HaShoah.”