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Winnipeg Commemorates Yom Hashoah 2024 with Solemn Remembrance

Alex Griner Blows the Shofar (photo credits: Keith Levit)
Alex Griner Blows the Shofar (photo credits: Keith Levit)

In a heartfelt tribute to the millions of lives lost during the Holocaust, the city of Winnipeg came together on Monday, May 6th, to mark Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. The annual commemoration was held at various venues across the city.

Temple Shalom held an interfaith commemoration on Sunday night, May 5, the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day. On Monday, May 6, there was a service at Congregation Etz Chayim in the morning and another at the Legislature building downtown, starting in the afternoon.

Each year we gather at synagogues, museums, and public spaces to honour the memory of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, as well as the millions of others who suffered under Nazi persecution. Including Roma, Serbs, Poles, LGBT, and the mentally challenged. These events provided an opportunity for reflection, education, and solidarity with the Jewish community.

This is important not just locally but nationally and worldwide as Jewish people everywhere have seen an alarming rise in antisemitism since the war in Gaza began following the brutal Oct. 7th Terrorist attacks.

The service at Etz Chayim -“Unto Every Person, There is a Name”- was chaired by Rob Berkowits, Executive Director of the Rady JCC. This was a candle-lighting and a name-reading ceremony to honour and remember those slain during the Holocaust. The names were selected from the approximately 3,000 names inscribed on the Holocaust monument located outside the Manitoba Legislature, which represents the victims whose family members survived the Shoah and moved to Winnipeg.

I attended the ceremony held in the afternoon at the Winnipeg Legislature. There, attendees ranged from Jewish community leaders, Rabbis, politicians, and students.

The event at the Legislature featured poignant speeches from survivors and descendants, who shared their families’ stories of resilience and survival amidst unimaginable adversity.

Through their narratives, they emphasized the importance of never forgetting the atrocities of the past and the ongoing imperative to combat intolerance and bigotry in all its forms.

One of the highlights of the day was a candlelight vigil, during which participants lit candles in memory of the victims. Each flickering flame served as a solemn reminder of the lives lost and the enduring legacy of the Holocaust.

With the service ending with shofar blasts of Gray Academy alumni Alec Griner the message of Yom HaShoah resonated loudly and clearly – to remain strong and unbroken.

Remembrance is not only a tribute to the past but also a call to action for the future. By standing together in solidarity and reaffirming our commitment to tolerance and justice, the people of Winnipeg demonstrated their unwavering resolve to honour the memory of the Holocaust and build a world free from hatred and prejudice.

*As a footnote, I must mention that what was supposed to be a respectful service at the Legislature was unfortunately interrupted by the sound of wailing alarms. These alarms persisted throughout the latter half of the ceremony. Although, to my knowledge, no incident occurred, the noise certainly marred the experience, interfering with the sound of the speakers and singers and the blowing of the shofar!

About the Author
I did my BA at Mount Allison University in Canada, studying History & Political Science. Thereafter, I began to pursue a degree in Journalism but took a hiatus from school to accept numerous job offers. I got my start in writing working for ERETZ: the Magazine of Israel in Tel Aviv, Israel. From my homeland Canada I have been published by both the National Post, and Jewish Post & News. The paper I currently write for and help publish is The Jewish Post -the successor to the now defunct paper: The Jewish Post & News. As a researcher and writer, I believe that applying historical context along with an in-depth knowledge of regional identity and political ideologies is the best way to identify and explain current geopolitical trends as well as forecast growing tension and unrest in future areas of conflicts -militarily, politically, and economically.
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