Yom HaShoah At SHS
In a moving Yom HaShoah Tekes, Shulamith High School commemorated and remembered the six million who perished in the Holocaust. The day’s program was both meaningful and inspirational and compelled the girls to think about what their history means to them and why it is important to remember the past.
The program was framed with opening words from Rabbi Craig Lubner on the themes of legacy, story-telling, and transmission of mesorah. Rabbi Lubner began by reading an excerpt from a stirring letter written by Rabbi Ahron Lopiansky, rosh yeshiva of the Yeshiva of Greater Washington. The letter is written from the perspective of a parent musing over what he will relay to his children on Seder night. Knowing that he may not be able to adequately express his important message the night of the Seder, the parent records his thoughts beforehand. The parent begins his message: “[We, the] Jewish People [are] links in a chain that started over 3,000 years ago and [we] will make it to the finish line of the end of times. It is a relay race where a torch is passed on through all the ages, and it is our charge, to take it from the one before and pass it on to the one after. Tonight we are being judged as to how well we have received our tradition and how well we are passing it on.” The parent continues his letter, trying to convey to his child the amount of sacrifice that has gone into enabling the mesorah to continue, and he ends with a wish that his child also will, one day, appreciate the importance of continuing the legacy.
After Rabbi Lubner’s opening, students and faculty together recited Tehillim and Kel malei rachamim. The program then continued with a student-led cantata and candle-lighting ceremony. In their beautiful and emotional performance, the girls sang moving renditions of “Ani Ma’amin,” “Shema Yisrael,” and “Cry No More.” After the choir, the girls then lit candles in honor of those who were murdered in the Shoah. They chose six individuals who perished in the Holocaust, read aloud a brief description of their lives and deaths, and lit a candle in their memory and in memory of all the six million. Those candles stayed burning for the rest of the day, silently honoring and commemorating those lost, as students took turns watching over the flames.
The program continued with a viewing of the Holocaust film Who Will Write our History? which chronicles the resistance of the clandestine underground group Oyneg Shabes.
After the film, the girls split up into breakout sessions to discuss the messages of the film and the overall message of the day. To do that, the girls were given copies of artifacts from the Oyneg Shabes archive. They were asked to analyze them, view them as an insight into life in the Warsaw Ghetto, and reflect on how these artifacts from the past connect to our lives today.
Although it wasn’t necessarily an easy day, students walked away from the program having internalized, to a deeper extent, the solemnity and the importance of Yom HaShoah. The messages of the day — the importance of honoring legacy, the importance of transmitting our collective truth to future generations, and the importance of looking to the past to inform the future — are an invaluable part of Jewish identity. It is for this reason, says Rabbi Lubner, that “these hallmark days are … key educational moments in our high-school program.”
Yom HaShoah Commemorated at HANC High School
By Adena Cohen
On Thursday, May 2, the students and faculty gathered together in the auditorium to commemorate Yom HaShoah. The program was introduced with the lighting of six candles by students and a faculty member whose relatives survived the Holocaust, and Rabbi Shlomo Adelman reciting the Kel Malei. This created a serious tone, which was sensed by everyone present.
The audience was inspired by a meaningful program highlighted by the reading of an essay written by ninth-grader Ori Baer. The essay was the winning entry of the annual Moshe Fleshcher Holocaust Memorial Scholarship sponsored by Judi and Alan Eisenman in memory of Judi’s father, Moshe Flescher, a Holocaust survivor.
At a special presentation the night before, Mrs. Eisenman met with the students and provided them with a brief history of her father. Moshe Flescher was born in Poland in 1921. As the youngest of seven children, he survived the tumultuous period by hiding in the forest with five siblings. Mrs. Eisenman further added that her father was soft-spoken and brief when responding to questions concerning his experience during the Holocaust.
Mrs. Eisenman explained that the purpose of this scholarship was to educate young students about the Holocaust and to perpetuate the memory of those who perished. She emphasized, “We should not be silent about this period, but rather our HANC students will serve to unite, through such education, the past and the future generations.”
This year, the winner was selected from a record number of essay entries that responded to the question: What has the world learned from the Holocaust over the past seven decades?
Following the candle-lighting, four faculty members, Rabbi Chesir, Rabbi Selengut, Ms. Zucker, and Rabbi Weingot, shared incredibly powerful stories from survivors, including stories of how they escaped and how they were able to keep their faith in Hashem.
After each story, the entire school sang songs in unison that represented the story being told. These songs included “Ani Maamin,” “Tov L’hodot,” “V’hi She’amdah,” and “Acheinu.” A poignant video clip of Abie Rotenberg’s “What Will Become of All the Memories” moved the entire audience.
Even though more time passes every year since the Holocaust, inspiring programs like this help to keep its memory alive.
HANC Learns About Combating Antisemitism in the 21st Century
On Friday morning, May 3, HANC High School ran a program called “How do we Combat Antisemitism in the 21st Century?” HANC partnered with the Simon Wiesenthal Center to foster an awareness of modern-day antisemitism, which unfortunately is on the rise in our country and around the world. Students heard from TM Garret, a former neo-Nazi who is now a human-rights activist and founder of C.H.A.N.G.E, a Memphis-based nonprofit organization that engages in community outreach programs, seminars, and anti-racism campaigns.
Before hearing from the guest speaker, students participated in a class discussion about antisemitism in the modern world, which included a video created in-house (@HANC Yom Hashoah2019/5779 on YouTube). The video featured the powerful words of Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein from the Chabad of Poway and J.D. Krebs (‘15), who spoke out against a BDS resolution at the University of Maryland earlier last week, as well as other video clips highlighting the recent rise of antisemitism.
Thank you to Mrs. Nomi Zanjirian for arranging the program
Central YomHaShoah commemoration
Central commemorated Yom HaShoah with meaningful programming throughout the day. In the morning, a siren rang and names of child victims were read. Seniors lined the hallways holding lit candles and led the other students to the cafeteria where the choir sang.
Senior Rachel Musheyev remarked on her experience interviewing a survivor for Names, Not Numbers. Junior Rina Shamilov read a poem she wrote for Yom HaShoah. Six yahrzeit candles were lit, representing the six million Jews who were killed; each candle held a special meaning to the person who lit it. The highlight of the program was a presentation by Mrs. Shirley Gottesman, a Holocaust survivor, and the great-great-aunt of senior Etty Weschler. She spoke about her experience in Kanada II in Auschwitz. Her story was truly meaningful and inspirational.
The ceremony concluded with the entire school singing “Hatikvah” and “Ani Ma’amin.” Afternoon programming included learning about modern-day antisemitism and a museum program about the history of the Holocaust.
MTA Hosts Meaningful Yom HaShoah Program
MTA commemorated Yom HaShoah with a meaningful program, which began with opening remarks from Head of School Rabbi Joshua Kahn, followed by senior Nadav Heller, who talked about his experience interviewing a Holocaust survivor as part of MTA’s Names, Not Numbers program. The introduction closed with senior Gavriel Iskhakbayev lighting a candle in memory of the 6 million Jews who perished during the Holocaust.
Talmidim were then privileged to hear from a special guest speaker, legendary storyteller Rabbi Hanoch Teller. Rabbi Teller shared many inspiring Holocaust stories, highlighting the bravery, perseverance, and determination of those who endured the atrocities of the concentration camps, and encouraged talmidim to carry on their legacy.
The program concluded with talmidim lighting 300 candles provided by Our 6 Million, an organization whose mission is to instill a family tradition to remember those who perished during the Holocaust. Each candle represented one of the six million Jews who were killed during the Holocaust and included a label with the person’s name and information on who they were and what they did prior to the Holocaust, as well as their dates of birth and death and a QR code that can be scanned to access more information. Talmidim took the time to read about each person before lighting their candles to keep their memories alive.
Shulamith Learns, Shulamith Remembers
In advance of Yom HaShoah, last Wednesday was designated “Holocaust Education Day” in Shulamith Middle Division. In each classroom, teachers presented edifying lessons about the Shoah. Among the topics covered were “How Many are Six Million?”; “Resistance in the Camps”; and “Euphemisms Used by the Nazis.”
On Thursday, Yom HaShoah was commemorated with two ceremonies. The morning assembly included the traditional lighting of six candles to represent the six million, tefillot said in memory of the kedoshim, a choir, and an audio-visual presentation which movingly explained the stages of the Holocaust.
Students gathered again in the afternoon to hear Mrs. Celia Kener speak about her experiences as a hidden child. The girls were deeply affected by Mrs. Kener’s presentation and wrote letters thanking her for coming to share her story of survival with them. Sixth-grader Adina Flug wrote, “I found your story so emotional and inspiring. With so few survivors left in 2019, I feel so lucky to have heard your firsthand speech.”
Shulamith Lower Division Commemorates Yom HaShoah
Grades 2–4 of Shulamith Lower Division participated in a meaningful Yom HaShoah program. The girls heard from Mrs. Dagmar Green, a Holocaust survivor and grandmother of students Baylie, Esther, Suri, and Goldie Habib. The third and fourth grades then performed an inspiring skit and choir performance.