“And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name (Yad Vashem), an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”
In 1995, at the initiative of Myriam Abramowicz, BJ began the all-night vigil of the “Reading and Hearing of the Names” from Bnai Brit’s “Unto Every Person There Is a Name.” Three years later Rabbi Matalon had the idea to broaden the participation by creating a minyan of synagogues from the Upper West Side, and the JCC took on the vigil with a different synagogue hosting the reading every year beginning at 10:00PM through 6:00PM the following day.
Every year BJ’s commemorates Yom HaShoah in our sanctuary with a service, a reading of names collected from and by our community, followed by a cultural event. It is the custom for many of our members to also participate in the community wide vigil at the JCC.
During the reading at BJ, two Torah scrolls that survived the Shoah are removed from the aron and held by congregants throughout the reading. We have names, gathered from the BJ community over the years, that need to be read, and everyone is invited to participate by naming members of their family members who perished or by reading names that we provide to them.
More than ever it is important that the names be read and heard as the Holocaust revisionists are waiting for the last survivors to disappear in order to claim that the Shoah never happened.
Since 1955, Yad Vashem has worked to fulfill its mandate to preserve the memory of the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust by collecting their names, the ultimate representation of a person’s identity.
In addition to the extensive resources it offers relating to Yom HaShoah and the collecting and reading of the names, the Yad Vashem website makes available online a vast multimedia and multi-lingual collection of educational materials including video lectures, podcasts, slideshows, research publications, digital collections, a photo archive, library catalog, and online courses.