Yom” is the Hebrew word for “Day” and in addition to Passover week (covered in last month’s Jewish Facts of Life), there are three days this month that are especially significant for Jewish people. These days are fixed on the Hebrew calendar, but do not occur on the same day each year on the regular calendar; dates shown are for this year only.
Yom ha Shoah (sundown April 20-sundown April 21)
This is Holocaust Remembrance Day; Shoah means “catastrophe” or “utter destruction” in Hebrew. The Shoah has become a synonym for the Nazi Holocaust. (Holocaust is from a Greek word meaning “sacrifice by fire.”) Yom ha Shoah is a memorial day for Jewish people who died in that Holocaust.
Those involved in Jewish evangelism are painfully aware of the role the Holocaust has played in causing some Christians to draw back from witnessing to Jewish people. The Nazis used the name of Jesus Christ and charges of deicide against the Jewish people as they carried out their crimes in His name. It’s not that Jewish people were so open to the gospel before the Nazi Holocaust, but certainly the atrocities performed in Christ’s name increased fear of, and resistance to, the gospel among Jewish people. Some Jewish community leaders have taken to saying that those who evangelize Jews are trying to finish what Hitler began. As a result, some Christians believe they cannot or should not approach Jewish people with the gospel. But we who believe the gospel is the only hope of eternal life know that withholding the message of Jesus is no way to show love or compassion for any people, including the Jewish people.
If you or someone you know is interested in reading a Jewish-Christian perspective that answers the charge that Hitler’s atrocities were a product of Christian theology, please see an article titled “Hitler’s Theologians”.
(This article originally appeared in our ISSUES publication for Jewish seekers. )
Yom Hazikaron (sundown April 27– sundown April 28)
This is Israel’s Day of Remembrance, always observed the day before the next day’s celebrations of Israel Independence Day. Before rejoicing over Independence, Israelis mourn for the soldiers who died in the defense of the nation.
Yom haAtzma-Ut (sundown April 28– sundown April 29
This is Israel’s Independence Day, marking the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948. This is a time for parades, fireworks and joyous celebration throughout the country. Click here for Jews for Jesus information and articles pertaining to this theme.