B'nai B'rith International is the official North American sponsor of "Unto Every Person, There Is a Name" ceremonies.
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While many know the International Holocaust Memorial Day is January 27, the Jewish community practices a different memorial day April 19 called Yom Hashoah. This is the day of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising where the Jewish people of Poland resisted the German occupation.
“International day is based on the liberation of Auschwitz, which was the Allies,” said Rabbi Jean Englinton of Huntington’s B’nai Sholom Temple. “Our date is connected with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, so it’s based on something that Jews did for themselves as opposed to what other people did for us.”
Yom Hashoah is celebrated on the closest Sunday with the Reading of Names, a memorial service started in 1989 by the B’nai B’rith, an international Jewish center. Their goal is to get all the names of the six million victims read. The temple has read about 2,000 names each year since the start of the program.
“To read all six million, at 2,000 a day would take eight and a third years,” said Herman Glaser, one of B’nai Sholom Temple’s Reading of Names organizers since 1989.
B’nai B’rith gives out the list of names to be read each year and gives the congregations it works with different names each time. This way all six million names will be read internationally.
The B’nai Sholom Temple so far has about 30 people signed up to read the names and expect more volunteers the day of the event.
“Everybody gets a chance to read, be it one or two names or 20, whatever they want,” Glaser said.
After all the names have been read, the temple will have a short memorial service. It will include a prayer for the dead, songs and the lighting of six candles with one candle representing one million lives. The service is not a religious service and should last about 20 minutes.
“Our hope is always that by learning about this epitome of horrible genocides that people can learn how to figure out how to keep other genocides from happening,” Englinton said.
The temple is located at the corner of 10th St. and 10th Ave. in Huntington. The Reading of Names is open to the public and starts at 8 a.m. and ends with a closing service starting at 4:30 p.m. Community members are also invited to read names at the service.