Holocaust Memorial events held over the internet in light of coronavirus

During these meetings there will be discussion regarding the memory of the holocaust, how it should be commemorate the victims and the world which was lost.

Shacharit sevice takes place over Zoom (photo credit: Courtesy)
Shacharit sevice takes place over Zoom
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The "Memory in the Living Room" project, which has become an integral part of Holocaust Memorial Day, will launch a new website on Monday to allow people to take part in the event as they would in a normal year.
The project invites Holocaust victims or their families to visit families and tell their story, in the comfort of the host family's living room. Typically, about a million hosts and guests from 54 coutries take part.
In order for the event to go ahead this year, the website contains kits for families, kids and teenagers,  as well as instructions as to how to hold a Zoom meeting with one's grandparents as well as the children of holocaust survivors.
The idea is to provide options for people to connect, even in these times of self isolation. This also allows anyone to still hold a "Memory in the Living Room" meeting.
Professor Rafael Walden, a 78 year old holocaust survivor and the partner of Tzvia Peres, son in law of the ninth president of Israel, Shimon Peres, is a professor at Tel Aviv University's medical faculty, the vice president of Sheba hospital and a social activist.
Walden acknowledges the importance of the "Memory in the Living Room" project, and has been an active participant for several years. He told Maariv-Hasvua: "It's a very touching experience because people are attentive.
"Every member of my family who stayed behind in Poland were killed to the last man, and the message that I'm trying to convey is that it's not enough to become emotional over the travesties of the holocaust, my message is to concentrate on the modern age, on the life of Israel because of everything that happened to us.
"We need to be empathetic to the suffering of refugees, minorities and foreigners and take care of them, so that we don't do to them what was done to us, but rather to take the example of the Righteous Among the Nations."
The project recommends having digital meeting with a maximum of 25 participants to allow for intimacy, singing and playing songs. It suggests on-screen testimonies at the start of the conversation, as well as advising that every participant should be given the opportunity to speak and express themselves.
Adi Altshuler, the founder of the "Memory in the Living Room" project, who will also light one of the Independence Day torches this year for her social activism, said: "This year, more than ever, we will all commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day in our own private living rooms alongside family, while Holocaust survivors are isolated in their own homes.
"We have brought in these digital solutions so that we can still commemorate this day and hear the stories and testimonies of the survivors this year, despite the coronavirus crisis."
Meanwhile, the Israeli Congress, a joint project between Bar-Ilan University and the Manomadin Fund, will host a series of Zoom meetings on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day with the purpose of getting secular and Haredi Jews to meet and discuss the Holocaust, remembrance and heroism.
"The purpose of these meetings is to commemorate the Holocaust even during this time," Gilad Weiner, CEO of the Israeli Congress, said.
"This conversation is even more important this year, thanks to the rising tensions between the various sects of Israeli society. Between the secular anger of what is perceived as disobedience with government guidelines during the coronavirus, and the utter shock of the Haredi community over the fences which were placed between Bnei Brak and Ramat Gan, and the historical feelings this invokes, there's a real need for honest conversation with an honest attempt to transcend prejudiced and try and create a unified consciousnesses of the memory of the Holocaust which will allow people to bridge the gaps which have been opened."
During these meetings there will be discussion regarding the memory of the Holocaust, how it should be commemorate the victims, and the world which was lost.
A long list of Zoom meetings will be held on municipal basis in Jeursalem, Modi'in, Haifa, Rehovot, Ashdod and Yavne. The video conferences will be limited to 30-50 participants, where they will be routed to different groups. Hundreds are expected to take part from all over the country.
The Israeli Congress was founded with the purpose of answering the increasing tension between Israel's Jewish Identity and its democratic one, with the key aim being to create a bridge through creating conversations.