In Israel, the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day is marked by a sharp transition from everyday bustle to a quiet, somber atmosphere. All the television stations show only programs relating to the Holocaust and radio stations play quiet, sad music. Places of entertainment are closed and almost every town and village holds a remembrance ceremony. Whether Israelis want to or not, they are virtually “forced” to confront this day and to interpret it as they see fit.
The situation outside Israel is very different. Holocaust Memorial Day is not marked in such an intense way, and may go unnoted by the broader community – particularly since most countries and non-Jewish institutions mark International Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27.
Accordingly, families can play an important role in marking this day and ensuring that their children know how to grapple with its complexity. This can be done through a short ceremony that invites all the members of the family to share their feelings and emotions. If the children attend Jewish day schools, youth programs, or other frameworks, this ceremony will complement and process the themes raised there.