The road ends, but the journey continues...

Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day 2019

Holocaust Memorial - Beth Israel Congregation - Florence, SC

Holocaust Memorial – Beth Israel Congregation – Florence, SC

Some of the symbolism of the memorial as explained on the Beth Israel Congregation Website:

  • Yellow Star of David – This universal symbol of Judaism was perverted by the Nazis. Jews were instructed to wear a yellow star on the outside of their clothing so that they could be instantly recognized, and shamed. Many Jews, however, and others of different communities, wore the star as a badge of pride, asserting that despite it all, they proudly clung to Israel’s covenant with God.
  • Outline of the Ten Commandments Tablet – Beth Israel uses this symbol on the doors of the Holy Ark in the Sanctuary, and the opening words of the Ten Commandments are on the back wall of the Sanctuary. It is used here to tie the Memorial to the life of our congregation.
  • Memorial Wording – The Hebrew word below the outline of the ten commandments reads HA-SHO-AH, the Holocaust. It is the word chosen by world Jewery to express the horror of the death of six-million of our brothers and sisters in Nazi Europe. The following words were edited from “Gates of Repentance” the prayer book used for our High Holiday worship.
  • Posts and Chain – These were added to the Memorial to represent the guard towers and the fences surrounding the extermination camps.
  • Gray Gravel – Spread at the base of the Memorial, the gravel, and the particular color chosen, are a sad reminder of the ashes of those Holocaust victims who were killed and cremated, their ashes left to blow to the corners of the earth.
  • The Memorial Stone – Thrusting upward, the stone stands proudly to indicate that Jews and Judaism have survived; will continue to do so; still reach for God, for human perfection and for God’s Kingdom here on earth. In our quest for God, we affirm that the victims of the Holocaust shall never be forgotten. In our quest for God, we affirm that it is our personal responsibility to cry out for all who suffer at human hands. (emphasis mine)


  1. Deborah Brasket

    These days it seems like there are more horrors than ever to remember. It’s hard to keep faith but even more important to do so. Thank you for the reminder.

  2. Brigid Gallagher

    What a powerful reminder of such a terrible blight on humanity. I hope people now realise that hatred never wins, only love.

    • laura bruno lilly

      And that love-winning is in it for the long haul…
      (your comment ended up in my spam folder – sorry about the delay in responding!)

  3. Mary J Puckett

    Even more important, I think, is the reminder that we have a responsibility NOW to help with the suffering in the world TODAY. The past is a reminder to work to make things better for the future.

    • laura bruno lilly

      You’re right on that…

  4. Jane Chesebrough

    Thank you for posting and remembering this sad time in history. We must always stand together in unity and never forget the past, or ignore the anti-Semitism of the present but let us speak the language of love and walk the talk. Shalom.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Aleichem shalom, Jane.

  5. Jennie Fitzkee

    Thank you for sharing this, Laura. It is so important. Never forget!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you, Jennie.

  6. Andy

    Great memorial. It’s unbelievable (and worrying) that some people deny that the holocaust took place.
    This day reminds me of my trip to Terezin in Prague. Very moving.

    • laura bruno lilly

      When did you visit?

      • Andy Murray

        It was in November (as the month is included in the title of the poem I wrote about in Heading North), sometime around 2005.

        • laura bruno lilly

          It seems I’m always pulling out your poetry collection – thank you for bringing this one back to my attention.

          • Andy

  7. Marty

    It’s really wonderful when you find something like that in a place where you might least expect it. It reinforces humanity, just when you might be worried we’re losing that very concept. Thanks for sharing, Laura.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Oh yes! That’s the extra beauty of this memorial – you are right.

  8. Janis

    An important reminder for us all; a necessary reminder for some who would rather forget or deny.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Denial in all things true, factual and historical seems to be the norm right now…sigh.
      Thank you for commenting, Janis.

  9. Mariss Stevens

    Thank you for this reminder not to forget

  10. Jill

    Thank you for sharing this, Laura. What a beautiful memorial.

    • laura bruno lilly

      It is, isn’t it? And here it is tucked away in this town – a delight (though of course heavily tinged with respectful reverence and sorrow) to have found this quite by accident one day several years ago.

  11. Roseanne

    Hi Laura! Thank you for this post. It is definitely something we should never forget, and not repeat in the future. I have take a picture of such a moving reminder from my work community that I’ll share next Thursday. ~smile~ Roseanne

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you Roseanne. I look forward to that future post.

  12. Ally Bean

    I didn’t know any of the detalled information you shared. It’s important to not forget the horrors of the Holocaust and this simple memorial is a good, and necessary, way to do so. Thanks for sharing it here.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you, Ally, for reading and commenting.

  13. Anne

    What a powerful memorial, Laura, to the millions who died, and a reminder that we should never let it happen again. (BTW, did you know that it was also the anniversary of the Uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto?)

    • laura bruno lilly

      No, I did not. – sigh –
      I was surprised to see this understated yet very powerful memorial here in this town. I discovered it during a jaunt through the neighborhoods one afternoon a few years after we moved here. Most residents are totally unaware of its presence and I make it a point to bring it to the attention of locals as well as to those who have visited us here.

  14. Anne Copeland

    Let us all be kind to one another and to remember that if we were not all meant to be here, we would not be. We are all sacred, all the cultures, the colors of people’s skins, the languages, political and spiritual/religious beliefs, along with political beliefs. And we must not forget all the creatures on the earth and the plants, down to the smallest grain of sand. We are all supposed to be here to help this earth, and to help our universe to survive. Let us all spend a quiet moment thinking about what we can all contribute to peace in this world so that we never have something like the Holocaust again ever. Thank you kindly.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Seems we’re on the same wavelength…your post is poignant and timely, too.

  15. L. Marie

    What a beautiful, beautiful reminder, Laura. I love this inscription: “In our quest for God, we affirm that the victims of the Holocaust shall never be forgotten. In our quest for God, we affirm that it is our personal responsibility to cry out for all who suffer at human hands. “

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