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Community Yom Hashoah Observance

Date of Event: April 07, 2013

A memorial service for the Jews lost during the holocaust or Yom Hashoah was held at Temple Beth Tzedek. The room was packed with many community members from the Jewish community and others to remember the Holocaust tragedy. There was beautiful singing and instrumental music that evoked a lot of sadness in the room. A narrator spoke of six stories of lost loved ones in the holocaust while living relatives would light a candle in their remembrance. The six candles represented the six million Jews murdered during the holocaust.

The keynote speaker Dr. Michael Berenbaum, a well-known scholar on the holocaust, rabbi, writer and filmmaker shared many stories and information not well known to many in the audience. He mentioned how survivors only knew one part of the holocaust and that a new vocabulary would have to be created because of the extreme suffering. Dr. Berenbaum elaborated since when we say we had hunger it really means we need a snack but during the holocaust having hunger meant  that you were given only a piece of bread and you had to decided how to eat it. Those in the camps would have to decide whether they wanted to eat the whole bread to rid of the hunger pains or eat a little at a time to sustain themselves until they got their next piece of bread.

Also, since there is so much documentation on the holocaust it is like no other event, with over 80,000 survivor testimonials, a lot of which has been documented in a way that the future generations can see survivors face to face with their testimony. Also, with the use of video tapping these testimonies it is history that isn’t written by the elite but written by everyone and is accessible to everyone.

The closing remarks were wise words from the speaker, that humanity’s duty is to first listen, second preserve the history of the holocaust and third and most importantly to transmit an moral understanding one that “deepens the ethical consciousness of humanity”.

See more pictures from this event.