Jews worldwide should mark the twenty sixth of the Hebrew month of Iyar as an annual day of celebration for the liberation and rescue of European Jewry according to Euro-Asian Jewish Congress Vice President German Zacharyev.
According to a document circulated by Zacharyev, a Russian businessman and philanthropist, he is “determined to mark the victory of liberation and the rescue of European Jews from the clutches of Nazis according to the Hebrew calendar.”
26 Iyar was the Hebrew date on May 9, 1945, the day that Nazi Germany surrendered to the Red Army. Despite Israel operating on the Jewish calendar for many public holidays, it celebrates Victory Day, as it is called, on the May ninth, in sync with much of the former Soviet Union. Last week Jewish partisans and soldiers who fought in the Second World War were honored during a wreath laying ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum.
In order to promote the observance of the Hebrew date, Zacharyev will begin the writing of the first of several Torah scrolls at a ceremony next Wednesday.
Former chief Rabbi and Holocaust survivor Israel Meir Lau is a supporter of the initiative according to Zacharyev. Both Lau’s son, current ashkenazic chief Rabbi David Lau, as well as Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef will be in attendance at the Torah writing ceremony.
Rabbi Pinchas Goldshmidt, the President of the Conference of European Rabbis will also be in attendance.
It is important to honor the “quarter million Jews who risked their lives during the war as part Allied armies and partisan units,” Zacharyev said in a letter to supporters.