Hundreds of thousands of memorial candles will be distributed to children in schools across the country on Sunday as part of the “I Remember Candle” project dedicated to the memory of Holocaust victims.
The project, initiated by two residents from Ramat Hasharon – Alicia Yacoby and Liat Zichron, aims to engage youngsters by having them light candles to honor the memory of a specific person who perished.
“We felt that the younger generation, which we have in our homes, is much less connected to the Holocaust than our generation; and we thought it was important for the next generation to commemorate the Holocaust in a meaningful way and in a way that they would be able to connect to,” Yacoby said.
In its second year, some 215,000 candles with some 1,200 names in Hebrew will be distributed to municipalities from Bat Yam to Netanya and to state religious schools around the country and then handed out to pupils, in grades chosen by the schools.
“Last year we started with 7,500 candles which we handmade and this year the project has just taken off and we have had a lot of support,” Yacoby said.
Children are encouraged to take the candle home and light it with their friends and family on Sunday night, the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Each candle has a label with the name of a victim and a few details about his for her life, such as place of birth, spouse or other relative’s name, and occupation.
“Remembering an individual as opposed to the six million will it make Holocaust Remembrance Day more meaningful; the focus is on the life the person led, not the way that they died,” Yacoby said.
Each candle provides a link to the project’s website and a bar code, which the children and their families can scan on their smartphones to view pictures and learn about the victim’s life in greater detail.
On the website, youngsters can print a customized “I remember” labels for a relative lost in the Holocaust and paste it on a memorial candle, and add his or her name to the project’s database.
“The idea of the database is that people won’t need a candle from us, they can buy a standard memorial candle and print a label from our site or create one of their own; and then if they add their relative’s name to our database others will also light a candle in their memory,” Yacoby said.
The project is the initiative of Linking the Shoah, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to “take actions to spread the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust to societies throughout the globe, through various meaningful social initiatives, geared especially for the younger generation.”