Two years ago, the Chief Rabbi held his annual Yom Hashoah service in Ilford United Synagogue, attracting many hundreds of people, including many local communal leaders and dignitaries.
Tonight, in the Redbridge JCC (Sinclair House), there were approximately 40 people who came to a Yom Hashoah service, run by the youth of the community and featuring Holocaust survivor and local resident Bob Obuchowski.
I do not intend to attribute blame for this clear discrepancy, as there may be explanations for why many people did not attend, but I do feel it is important to make people aware that it exists. Yom Hashoah is an important day in the Jewish calendar and, despite its awkward positioning in between Pesach and Yom Ha'atzmaut, deserves the highest priority on the communal calendar. The unifying nature of Holocaust commemoration can bring the Jewish community together more than most things and it is important to have large scale events where this is highlighted.
This evening's events should be a wake-up call to the community that we must reach a time where people do not let Yom Hashoah pass without attending a public commemoration of the Holocaust.