Yom HaShoah Event Marks Anti-Semitism, Past and Present
Seventy years to the day after the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, students and other members of the Yeshiva University community gathered together in Lamport Auditorium to mark Yom Hashoah.
The theme of this year's event was I am Never Again, a reference to the slogans Je Suis Charlie (I am Charlie) and Je Suis Juif (I am a Jew) which were popularized following the terrorist attacks which occurred in France this past January. Each speaker emphasized the connection between violent anti-Semitism of the past and its modern-day incarnations, and the imperative of resisting each.
The ceremony began with a moment of silence for those killed during the Holocaust, followed by a spoken word performance by Stern senior Michal Kupchik, which focused on identifying with the victims of anti-Semitism past and present.
After the American and Israeli national anthems were sung a capella by The Y-Studs, Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter continued with the theme of connecting past and present, including practical recommendations for how students could fight hatred. He repeatedly invoked what he described as the weighty obligation to "zachor - gedenkt - remember."
The assembled crowd next heard from Holocaust survivor Sally Frishberg, who was interviewed by Yedidyah Weiss. She described fleeing German soldiers by night and taking shelter in haystacks by day, and the long time her family spent sheltered in the attic of one Stanislaw Grocholski, today recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations. She also talked about her optimistic view of the Jewish future around the world, even in countries where they are beset by anti-Semitism. Today, Ms. Frishberg works to preserve the memory of victims of the Holocaust in the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust and in schools throughout the New York City area.
[caption id="attachment_4057" align="alignnone" width="250"] Holocaust survivor and speaker Mrs. Sally Frishberg lights a candle at the ceremony, as SHEM Vice President David Freilich looks on.[/caption]
Other speakers that night – among them Hadassa Holzapfel, Amanda Esraeilian, and Becky Shachter – described recent initiatives like the Adopt-a-Survivor Program, which connects college students to Holocaust survivors, and the Jewish solidarity mission to France. Six candles were lit in memory of the six million slain, and President Richard Joel intoned the El Malei Rachamim prayer. The Y-Studs also performed twice more throughout the night.
The event, which filled YU’s Lamport Auditorium, was organized by the Student Holocaust Education Movement.