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Keep your lights on: Remembering Kristallnacht

Worldwide memorial events to take place on 70th anniversary of Nazi pogrom, including night-long light vigils in synagogues across world, international conference in Jerusalem

Jews across the world will be lighting up the night this Sunday, as a vigil for victims of Kristallnacht, the Nazis' widespread anti-Jewish pogrom 70 years ago in which over a thousand synagogues were destroyed and hundreds of Jews were killed or arrested.


Israeli officials are encouraging synagogues and midrashot (centers for Jewish learning) across the world to remain illuminated overnight, on the night between November 9 and November 10, in memory of the fallen.


"The Nazis' objective was to darken Israel's eyes and turn off 'the light of the world', the light of the Torah and prayer that shone out of synagogues and midrashot," read a joint message published by Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog and chief rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar.


"As such we call on all of the people of Israel, in the State of Israel and in the Diaspora, to light candles and leave lights on in synagogues and midrashot on the 12th night of (the Jewish month of) Marheshvan, in order to remember and to remind future generations never to forget the cruelty and evil actions that befell us," the statement continued.


The idea to illuminate synagogues on the memorial date was the brainchild of Rabbi Yechiel Wasserman, chairman of the Diaspora Spiritual Services Center.


Memorial events

Additional events are planned for the 70th memorial of Kristallnacht across the Jewish world. Memorial services are being held in cities across Israel, the United States and Europe, with some churches to ring their bells in commemoration of the tragedy.


The World Zionist Federation published an educational packet on the issue, which was distributed this past week to hundreds of teachers, rabbis, counselors and volunteers around the globe. The packet includes videos, power point presentations, pictures, personal testimonials, and suggestions for discussion topics in several different languages. 


The Jewish humanitarian Aleph Institute, based in Europe, will be holding an all-night Torah study on Sunday in commemoration of Kristallnacht victims.


Rabbi Levi Kanelsky, the chairman of the institute, called on Jewish communities to meet Sunday night following evening prayers, in order to recite Kaddish (Jewish blessing over the dead) for those Jews who were murdered in 1938.


The Mishkenot Shaananim international guesthouse in Jerusalem will be holding 12 days of events marking Kristallnacht, beginning with an opening ceremony Sunday that involves the lighting of an art installation entitled "Kristallnacht." It will be attended by Herzog, as well as by the German and Austrian ambassadors to Israel.


The culmination of the Mishkenot Shaananim events is an international conference entitled the anniversary of the pogroms, which will include lectures on various topics regarding Kristallnacht's significance as a prelude to the atrocities of the Third Reich. Several plays on the topic will also be featured.


פרסום ראשון: 11.09.08, 14:51
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