There are times in one’s life when one recognizes a calling larger than themselves and that is what One More Candle is.
My name is Jacquie Seipp. More than a decade ago at Yom Kippur High Holy Day services, while remembering the Shoah (Holocaust) the story of the ninety-three girls caught me in a way that I had not felt before. The story is that ninety-three girls chose to take their own lives rather than allowing their bodies to be used and desecrated as sexual objects for Nazi officers. Their last plea was “all we ask is, say Kaddish (prayers) for us. For all ninety-three, say Kaddish.” onemorecandle.org/kaddish
The weight of the request was overwhelming and grew as each year passed. What to do? And how to do it? There are 1.5 million children and more, who were slaughtered, the majority of them along with their families. If I could get people to light a candle for each of the murdered children of whom we have information, then we would be able to honor the death wish of the 93 girls.
When something is right it flows easily. I ran the idea past my Rabbi. Recognizing that the idea had potential, I shared the concept with others.
Unexpectedly, I had the good fortune of meeting Yaron Ashkenazi, who, at the time was the Executive Director, and Klara Romm, who had been the Chief Operating Officer, of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem in Toronto. The project found great acceptance, support, and direction from both of these people.
While considering how to move forward on this, my mother (z”l) passed away.
From sad things, good things can happen.
During Shiva (first week of mourning), I had a captive audience and I shared my thoughts with them all. Discussions ensued, ideas flew. My husband suggested later, that if the idea was a football, it could not have been tossed around more quickly.
It sounded possible. The idea formed, and reformed in my mind. Attending an incredible one man play, Wiesenthal, by Tom Dugan helped solidify the idea.
The story is about an ordinary man who acted extraordinarily to bring light to the darkness of the Holocaust. Simon Wiesenthal always had a sunflower on his desk as he searched for the murderers of 6 million Jews. It was a constant reminder of the senseless murder of millions, and why he needed to do what he was doing; reminding the world and bringing the perpetrators of the genocide to justice.
At each show’s end, as he leaves the stage, Wiesenthal takes the sunflower, and gently hands it to one in the audience.
Receiving that sunflower broke me. I knew that One More Candle was bashert (meant to be), and that I, an ordinary woman, have been divinely given an extraordinary task.
One More Candle took form in April 2016.
The opportunity to give honor to memory shadows and the recognition of lives lived with joy and happiness which were torn from their futures, is what One More Candle is all about. Our aim is to also include awareness of the present and the horrors children are still experiencing in many parts of the world.
With the help and encouragement of the aforementioned people and all those who share the vision, the memory of 1.5 million children, including the ninety-three girls, will be honored.