Yom HaShoah is Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day, a day which is marked across the country every year as a national holiday. Yom HaShoah in Israel usually falls in late April or early May, and runs from sundown to sundown. Memorial events take place around the country, the most famous of which is the state ceremony at Yad Vashem, Israel’s National Holocaust Memorial at sundown in which the President and Prime Minister deliver speeches and Holocaust Survivors light six torches, symbols of the six million Jews who perished. In 2014, Yom HaShoah will fall from sundown on April 27 to sundown on April 28.
The State Ceremony for Yom HaShoah at Yad Vashem. Photograph: Yossi Ben David / Yad Vashem
As well as the famous state ceremony at Yad Vashem, every school, military base, town, city, village, and public institution has a ceremony to mark the event. At 10.00 am, Israel famously comes to a stop when the siren is sounded around the country for two minutes. Even cars on the highways stop and drivers and passengers get out and mark the two minutes.
Vehicles stop on the highway to mark Yom HaShoah. Photograph: Avital Pinnick
Yom HaShoah is a solemn time to be in Israel. Law prohibits places of public entertainment from being open either on the evening before or day of Yom HaShoah, and the mood of the country changes dramatically during the period.
Most cultural institutions in Israel hold special events during Yom HaShoah.
An interesting resource for further information about Yom HaShoah is the Yad Vashem Website: www.yadvashem.org. It is usually possible to watch the main state ceremony online here as well.