High School and Elementary marked Yom HaShoah on Tuesday with solemn tributes that were equally outstanding as years’ past, despite being commemorated remotely.
High School students, staff and parents attended a Zoom assembly on the theme of Names, Not Numbers. Following School Rabbi Rabbi Eddie Shostak’s recitation of Kel Malei Rachamim, Head of School Dr. Laura Segall and HA parent, alumnus (’83) and coach Morrie Levy delivered heartfelt tributes to their heroic family members (Dr. Segall’s grandmother, a”h, and Morrie’s parents, a”h) who survived the Holocaust. A number of students captured the courage and resilience of both martyrs and survivors and the imperative to perpetuate victims’ and survivors’ legacies by leading full, Jewish lives was brought home to all in attendance.
Grades 4 to 6 met subsequently online and were encouraged to continue on their paths of miztvot and midot tovot by Principal Yaffa Blanshay in order to honour both victims and survivors. Students learned about Columbia astronaut Ilan Ramon a”h, who brought two very special items along with him to space: a copy of a drawing called “Moon Landscape” that was sketched by 16-year old Petr Ginz, who died in Auschwitz in 1944, and a tiny sefer Torah that was smuggled into Bergen Belsen and read in 1944 by Bar Mitzvah boy Joachim Joseph, who ultimately survived.
In speaking about the Torah from space, Ramon called it a symbol of “the Jewish People’s ability to survive in spite of everything.”
School Rabbi Rabbi Eddie Shostak asked students and faculty to draw the one Jewish item they would take with them if they had to leave in a hurry, and everyone shared their pictures. He then showed a book written by his wife’s grandmother, a Shoah survivor, called Why Am I Here?
“We have to ask ourselves, ‘Why are we here?'” he said. “It’s nice to have these objects but we have to live by them.”
Every year, our senior Elementary grades mark Yom HaShoa with a visit to a unique Cheder Shoah * – a fabulous multimedia experience created by our wonderful Bnot Sherut Leumi. This year was no exception. Bnot Sherut Maya Bar and Shahar Bezalel created an incredible virtual Cheder Shoah for our classes, and gave them a special tour all the way from Israel. This year’s theme was Tzadikei Umot HaOlam, and touched upon such Righteous Among the Nations as Oscar Schindler and Jan Żabiński, director of the Warsaw Zoo.
Kol hakavod to Rabbi Shostak, Bnei Akiva Shaliach Eli Veresh, our High School students, Morrie Levy, Dr. Segall, Mrs. Blanshay, ES Judaic Studies Director Jordana Levy, Maya Bar and Shahar Bezalel for leading these most meaningful programs.
*Google Chrome required to view.
-by Aviva Engel, Director of Communications