QUESTION: May a funeral be held on Yom Hashoah? Do we consider this a holiday or a commemorative day? (Bernard Kaufman, Newark NJ)
ANSWER: Yom Hashoah is a commemorative day added to our calendar to honor those who died in the Holocaust. A brief liturgy appropriate for a special service has been created for this day. Some congregations add commemorative readings to their normal service. In other communities there is a communal program of remembrance which often involves the non-Jewish community as well. The commemoration of the day should be encouraged.
The day is not a holiday, but a commemorative day, so none of the prohibitions connected with holidays are applicable. It would be permissible to conduct a funeral on this day.