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CaptureThe International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) is calling for a change in how they mark Holocaust Remembrance Day. Instead of only memorializing the victims, they also plan to help the last living survivors who are living in poverty around the world.

Holocaust Remembrance Day, known as Yom HaShoan in Hebrew, begins the evening of Wednesday, May 4th and ends the evening of May 5th. Yom HaShoan is one of the most solemn national holidays in Isreal, where the community honors the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust. This is a worldwide event, with communities all throughout the United States holding memorial services.

The Fellowship’s founder and president, Rabbi  Yechiel Eckstein, is urging those observing the holiday this year to not only remember those from the past, but also focusing on acting in the present to help the world remaining survivors in their last days.

“While it’s critical for the Jewish people – for all people – to remember the Holocaust and learn its lessons, sadly, we have been focusing on memorializing those who perished in the Holocaust, but ignoring the current plight of hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors around the world who are living out their last days in wretched poverty,” said Eckstein.

“We must re-examine the meaning and impact of Holocaust Remembrance Day. We must focus on helping the last remaining Holocaust survivors around the world achieve a measure of dignity in the twilight years of their lives.”

Currently, an estimated 189,000 survivors, or one-third of all remaining survivors worldwide, live in Israel. The remaining survivors are living in the Society Union, where the majority of the survivors living below the poverty line

The Fellowship provides more than $7.3 million annually in food, medicine, winter heating fuel, daycare and other assistance to over 18,000 survivors in Israel and also helps more than 60,000 survivors and other poor, elderly Jews in the Soviet Union with an additional $15 million annually in food, medical assistance, home care and winter aid.

Still, this is not enough. Eckstein and the Fellowship are putting this effort in the forefront during the holiday and hope others will be inspired to help as well.

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