Shabbat Candlelighting 7:49 p.m.                                                Friday, April 16, 2010/2 Iyar 5770

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From Mourning and Remembrance to Celebration and Hope
Over the course of a week we experience a series of events on the Jewish calendar that carry us from the commemoration of the Holocaust during Yom Hashoah, through Yom Hazikaron – Israel’s Remembrance Day for soldiers who fell in the line of duty and victims of terror – to the celebration of Israel’s independence on Yom Ha’atzmaut. And this week falls in the midst of the period between Passover, the celebration of our redemption from slavery in Egypt, and Shavuot, the celebration of the revelation of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. The contemporary historic journey of our people is nested within the biblical journey that is the master narrative of our people.

Our community’s Yom Hashoah commemoration, held last Sunday evening at the JCCGV, was a moving program including the traditional lighting of yarzheit (memorial) candles by survivors and their children, a series of beautiful musical performances that memorialized European Jewish culture, so much of it destroyed and lost, and a stirring reflection of personal history by local survivor, David Ehrlich. The Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, as it always does, put together a beautiful, moving and engaging program.

Across the world in Poland, 13 youth from our community, together with nearly ten thousand Jewish youth from around the world, prepared for the annual March of the Living at Auschwitz, the site of the most notorious of the Nazi concentration camps. This year’s contingent from Vancouver is one of the largest we’ve sent, largely due to the efforts of Federation board member David Emanuel, who is traveling with the group as its chaperone. They are also joined by local survivor, Alex Buchman. David has shared that the Vancouver youth are playing a prominent role within the overall March of the Living program, including student Joseph Braun, who co-emceed the ceremony at Birkenau. March of the Living is a life-changing experience, as we know from the alumni who continue to surface in various volunteer and leadership roles in the community later in their lives. To view photos from this year's March, click here.

Following their experience in Poland, March of the Living participants continue their journey on to Israel, where they move from the darkness of the Holocaust to celebrate the birth of the Jewish nation. On Sunday night and Monday – Yom Hazikaron - they will commemorate those who gave their lives in the battle for the creation of the state, to preserve and protect it over these past 62 years. As evening approaches on Monday, the mood will shift from mourning and remembrance to celebration, and they will dance in the streets to celebrate the 62nd anniversary of David Ben Gurion’s historic declaration of independence.

Although we cannot be with them in Israel this year for these events, you can join together with your community to be part of them here. I invite you to join us for our community events marking Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut:

Yom Hazikaron
Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.
Temple Sholom
7190 Oak Street, Vancouver

Yom Ha’atzmaut
Monday, April 19, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.
The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts
777 Homer Street, Vancouver

Shabbat Shalom!

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