Matthew joined an online service hosted by Mill Hill Synagogue to commemorate Yom HaShoah.
The annual Yom HaShoah commemoration in Hendon is usually held at a service at Allianz Park in Mill Hill. However, this year, owing to social distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic, Mill Hill Synagogue established a virtual service which took place alongside many others across the world.
The remembrance of Yom Hashoah began on the evening of Monday 20th April and finishes twenty-four hours later. Many synagogues will find it difficult to hold services without modern technology and many are choosing to mark the day in their own way. This can include reciting the Mourner's Kaddish, a prayer for the departed, as well as the El Maleh Rahamim, a memorial prayer. It is also customary to light memorial candles to mark the day.
The service from Mill Hill Synagogue heard the testaments of local people who spoke of their thoughts about recently visiting Auschwitz. One poignant moment was the contribution that reminded us all that however bad we consider our current circumstances they are not as terrible as the time of the Holocaust when people were force to hide, lost their loved ones or lived under terrible hardship and the fear of constant death.
Matthew said: “Having visited Auschwitz myself, I am aware of the important of Yom HaShoah and its relevance to local constituents. The impact of the Shoah affects people in different ways, but what strikes me is the personal nature it has for so many of my constituents through historical and direct connections to the atrocities.
"Living through this difficult time makes us all consider the hardships endured in the past and gives us the belief that we will come through this period, like many of those before.”
Photo: Matthew lit a candle in memory of eight year old Yta Kosever, murdered in 1941.