Yom HAshoah Commemoration for the workplace

15-Minute Ceremony Honoring Those Who Perished

Today, we stop to think about those who were violently and unjustly stolen from this world by way of the murderous Nazis during the Holocaust. As Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks puts it, the Holocaust was the "greatest crime of man against man". This commemoration ceremony was designed for the faculty of the day school where I am the School Rabbi - and can be used in any workplace as a short, yet meaningful way to honor the memories who deserve to be recalled.

You can view and print the PDF version by clicking here

The words in this ceremony are not all my own. The authors have been mentioned below, and I did make adaptions to include today's antisemitic violence that we still face, along for a message of hope at the end. Feel free to use and share.

*Have 6 Yizkor (or dedicated) candles, and a collection of tea lights available.


Some words From Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Excerpt, see full prayer here

Today, on Yom HaShoah, we remember the victims of the greatest crime of man against man – the young, the old, the innocent, the million and a half children, starved, shot, given lethal injections, gassed, burned and turned to ash, because they were deemed guilty of the crime of being different.

We remember what happens when hate takes hold of the human heart and turns it to stone what happens when victims cry for help and there is no one listening what happens when humanity fails to recognize that those who are not in our image are nonetheless in God’s image…..

...We know that whilst we do not have the ability to change the past, we can change the future. We know that whilst we cannot bring the dead back to life, we can ensure their memories live on and that their deaths were not in vain. And so, on this Yom HaShoah, we commit ourselves to one simple act: Yizkor, Remember. May the souls of the victims be bound in the bond of everlasting life. Amen.

**Facilitator’s note: Cut out each reading and hand to members in the community to read and then light their candle.

(Readings adapted by R’ Aviva Funke from Israel Forever Foundation)


We take this oath: we take it in the shadows of flames, whose tongues scar the soul of our people we vow in the name of our dead parents and children we vow we shall never let the sacred memory of our perished six million of our Jewish family be forgotten or erased. LIGHT CANDLE


We saw them hungry, in fear, we saw them in the loneliness of night, we saw them at the threshold of death true to their faith. We received their silence in silence, we merged their tears with ours, we are the remaining witnesses. LIGHT CANDLE

READER #3 Of deportations, executions, mass graves, death camps, mute prayers and cries of revolt. The young, the old, the rich and the poor. The ghetto fighters, the partisans, the scholars and the messianic dreamers, the tradesmen and the businessmen, the religious and the secular. Like a cloud we saw them vanish.


READER #4 We take this oath: visions become word, to be handed down from parent to child, teacher to student, handed down from generation to generation. Zachor, Remember We remember the good deeds of the righteous gentiles who selflessly risked their lives to save the lives of countless others. We aspire to your righteousness, and we remember you. LIGHT CANDLE

READER #5 (Source: Holocaust Encyclopedia)

We remember the other nations and peoples whose lives were unjustly taken during the Holocaust. around 7 million Soviet civilians around 1.8 million Non-Jewish Polish civilians312,000 Serb civilians up to 250,000 People with disabilities about 200,000 Roma Gypsies around 1,900 Jehovah's Witnesses Possibly thousands Homosexuals We will not forget you. LIGHT CANDLE

READER #6 By R’ Aviva Funke

In the shadows of the flames of six symbolic candles, we light this candle for all the senseless acts of antisemitism we continue to experience today. Each moment of horror is linked to the next, connected by the vicious act of life taken unjustly, at the hands of evil. But today in our hearts, we pray that the chain that links them all is actually our hands holding one another, m’dor l’dor, from generation to generation. May our lives be worthy of their memories. We will remember them. LIGHT CANDLE

Recite Mourners kaddish

We pray for peace today and for all of our days.

**Either sing Eli Eli here or at the beginning, some could conclude with Hatikvah.

Invite all who wish to light a candle in the memory of those we have lost.