Monday night, the Gulfport Jewish community remembered the six million lives lost during the Holocaust. Beth Israel Synagogue holds a special memorial ceremony each year to remember their Jewish ancestors who were killed in the Holocaust. They held a candlelight service, six candles for the six million whose lives were tragically lost. Those at Beth Israel say this day isn't just for the Jewish community.
Donald Berry of the Gulf Coast Center for Holocaust & Human Rights says, "I think in some ways, these events are for the general populous as they are for the Jewish population, because the perpetrators and the bystanders and the collaborators, they need to remember the Holocaust as well." Those at Monday night's service say this memorial is about human rights for all religions around the world. At the Beth Israel Synagogue, leaders say it’s important to not forget what happened during the Holocaust in order to avoid future genocides from happening.
Milton Grishman, the service coordinator, says, "After all this, we still have genocide in different parts of the world. You've got to remain aware and do what you can to keep it from happening again like it did there in Nazi Germany." The Holocaust Memorial Day falls each year on the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising in Poland in 1943. It was the largest Jewish revolt during the Holocaust and symbolizes their resistance in the face of the tragic period. Berry also says, "This day is associated with a lot of loss, and I think no matter how many generations pass, Jewish persons will always feel that."
With the lighting of each candle, Gulfport Jewish people remembered those who have gone before them so that they are free to practice their faith today. Beth Israel is the only synagogue in the Gulfport area and the tight-knit community appreciates the local support in their memorial service each year.