For Rabbi Jeffrey Astrachan, remembering the victims and survivors of the Holocaust is something the community can do together.

So people from various faiths will be invited to help read during the Yom HaShoah (Holocaust) Community Seder at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 7, at Temple Beth Israel 2090 Hollywood Drive in York Township, said Astrachan, the temple's spiritual leader.

The seder -- which marks Holocaust Remembrance Day -- involves the retelling of the Holocaust experience during the World War II era and includes symbols and rituals to help the public identify with that experience, the rabbi said.

"It will have the somber, melancholy, dark tone that is appropriate for recalling those same feelings when we think of what the Holocaust meant not only for Jewish people, but for our society and the world," he said.

This is the first time Temple Beth Israel is offering a community seder to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The temple's seder is a variation of other Holocaust seders, including "The Third Seder: a Haggadah for Yom HaShoah," written by Elie Wiesel, a human rights activist, Holocaust survivor and 1986 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for Peace.

Holocaust seders are new and give communities opportunities to come together for Yom HaShoah observances, Astrachan said.

The seder also relates to the Passover Seder that commemorates the Israelites' journey from slavery and degradation in Egypt to freedom through Moses' leadership, the rabbi said.


"With the Yom HaShoah Seder, we have a commemoration theme of a modern-day Israeli enslavement, persecution and murder in the Holocaust and the freedom to rebuild lives in modern day after the liberation."

If you go: The Yom HaShoah (Holocaust) Community Seder is at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 7, at Temple Beth Israel, 2090 Hollywood Drive in York Township.

The event is free and open to the public; to attend call 843-2676 or email the temple at

Also, free Yom HaShoah yellow candles -- to commemorate those who died in the Holocaust -- are available to the public at the Jewish Community Center at 2000 Hollywood Drive.

For information, call the Jewish Community Center at 843-0918.

--Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at