No study of Jewish life can escape the Holocaust. Nothing in Jewish history exceeds its horror. No other event surpasses its significance. Yom HaShoah commemorates the systematic murder of six million Jews by Nazi Germany during World War II and the destruction of their culture.
Official commemoration ceremonies are held on the 27th day of the Hebrew month of Nissan, the date chosen by the Israeli government. In Israel, theaters, banks, schools, and many businesses close, and sirens mark statewide moments of silence. Some Secular Jews prefer to commemorate the Holocaust on April 19, the date of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, one of the most dramatic examples of Jewish resistance. We acknowledge this event in our Humanistic Jewish observance of Yom HaShoah on the Sunday morning nearest the official date.
We believe that the Holocaust is the ultimate testimony to the absence of a divine plan and that a belief in a just God controlling a well-ordered world is impossible in the face of such implacable horror and brutality. We believe that the most appropriate response to the Holocaust is to intensify the quest for human dignity which can provide meaning and order in a chaotic, uncaring universe.