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Monthly Spotlight

April 2022

This month we look at the National Day of Silence, Holocaust Remembrance Day, and Ramadan

For children's resources, scroll down.

International Holocaust

Remembrance Day


International Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom Hashoah, is commemorated on the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar, which falls in late April or early May.  This year, it occurs on April 28th.  This day is part of a week-long remembrance of the Holocaust.  It’s a separate day from Holocaust Memorial Day, which took place in January.  Yom Hashoah is specifically a day for the Jewish community to reflect on what was done to their people.

The word genocide was created to describe the Holocaust.

From the U.S. Holocaust Museum:

"The Holocaust (1933–1945) was the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million European Jews by the Nazi German regime and its allies and collaborators. The Holocaust is also sometimes referred to as “the Shoah,” the Hebrew word for “catastrophe.”
The Nazis targeted Jews because the Nazis were radically antisemitic. This means that they were prejudiced against and hated Jews. In fact, antisemitism was a basic tenet of their ideology and at the foundation of their worldview.

The Nazis falsely accused Jews of causing Germany’s social, economic, political, and cultural problems.

The Nazis believed that the world was divided into distinct races and that some of these races were superior to others.”

Author(s): United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC
Last Edited: Nov 5, 2021
Introduction to the Holocaust <https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/introduction-to-the-holocaust>
 

It is important that we remember the Holocaust so that we don’t forget the human capacity for cruelty to one another.  As we look at how the Nazis dehumanized an entire group of people by using the social construct of race to stigmatize them, we can reflect on how those divisions are still used throughout the world today in the treatment of black and brown people, and ethnic minorities.  

We also remember how silence, both from the average German citizen, and from religious institutions and governments globally, allowed this tragedy to unfold.  It reminds us how we need to take an active role in speaking out and acting against injustices that we see in our times.

 An estimated 43 genocides have occurred since the Holocaust.

 For a moving video on the Holocaust, please click on the link below.  Note: This video is marked as age-restricted by YouTube:

US Holocaust Memorial Museum: Why We Remember the Holocaust

National Day of Silence - April 22, 2022

Since April 8th, 1996, the recurring holiday, “National Day of Silence'' has been a significant and fast-growing movement throughout our country’s youth. National Day of Silence is a student-led movement established to protest and raise awareness of the bullying and harassment (in any form) of the members of the LGBTQ+ community within school systems.  In the last several years, 10,000 participants registered to support victims from destructive communities each year. Their efforts are represented in a day-long vow of silence. It’s found that the day-long voice restriction comes to an end during a “Breaking the Silence” rally or community discussion about a particular thought-out theme. The recognized date for this movement is typically held on the second Friday of April. This year, it falls on April 22nd. Each year, the community uses the symbolic undertaking as an awakening of how students from the LGBTQ+ community were silenced over the years. 

Website: https://www.glsen.org/ 

Day of Silence page: https://www.glsen.org/day-of-silence 

A silent protest by the GSA members of Anne Arundel Community College. https://www.thecampuscurrent.com/7348/clubs-news/day-of-silence/ 

What is Ramadan?


Every year, Muslims celebrate Ramadan.  Ramadan is based on a lunar calendar so, unlike our monthly calendar, it occurs at different times each year.  This year, it begins at sunset on April 2 and ends on May 2.  

Here is some information regarding Ramadan and the Islamic religion:

Islam is one of the 3 Abrahamic (coming from Abraham) religions, the other two being Judaism and Christianity.  The people who practice the Islamic religion are called Muslims.  It is the second largest religion in the world and the fastest growing.  

Ramadan is a holy month of fasting, introspection and prayer for Muslims, the followers of Islam. It is celebrated as the month during which Muhammad received the initial revelations of the Quran, the holy book for Muslims. Fasting is one of the five fundamental principles of Islam. Each day during Ramadan, Muslims do not eat or drink from dawn to sunset. They are also supposed to avoid impure thoughts and bad behavior. 

Muslims break their daily fasts by sharing meals with family and friends, and the end of Ramadan is celebrated with a three-day festival known as Eid al-Fitr, one of Islam’s major holidays.  It is meant to be a time of spiritual discipline — of deep contemplation of one's relationship with God, extra prayer, increased charity and generosity, and intense study of the Quran.  Fasting reminds Muslims of our human frailty, to show you how it feels to be hungry and thirsty so you feel a duty to help the poor and needy and to force them to focus on their relationship with God. While it is a serious time, it also is a time of joy and celebration, spent with family and friends.  Please check out this Ramadan Information Sheet if you’d like to learn more.

You can greet Muslims during Ramadan by saying “Ramadan Mubarak”, which means “blessed Ramadan” or “Ramadan Kareem”, which means “have a generous Ramadan”.

A group of people sitting around a table with food

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Resources for children

Resource Title

Description

The Gift of Ramadan
by Rabiah York Lumbard

A video of the book being read can be found here.
 

Sophia really wants to fast for the first time during Ramadan this year. However, not having food or water all day is harder than she imagined, and Sophia finds herself giving into temptation and eating some cookies. Can she still be part of the Ramadan festivities, or has she ruined her entire observance?
 

Lailah's Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story 
by Reem Faruqi

A video of the book being read can be found here.

Lailah has moved far away to a new school in a new country. She worries that her new classmates won’t understand why she won’t be eating lunch at school during the month of Ramadan. A wise and helpful teacher and school librarian team up to help her find a way to explain her religion and help her new friends understand and respect her beliefs.