—With Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, US Senator Charles E. Schumer, Elisha Wiesel, Israeli Consul General Israel Nitzan, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Cantor Joseph Malovany, Daniel Kahn, Zalmen Mlotek—
—View the Event at https://mjhnyc.org/watch-annual-gathering-remembrance/—
(New York, NY)—The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust presented the Annual Gathering of Remembrance on Sunday, April 11, 2021, fulfilling the sacred Jewish obligation to remember those who were murdered during the Holocaust. The livestreamed event was held on the Sunday closest to Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, which occurred on April 8.
“If there is one word that defines the museum it is remembrance, remembrance of the six million, appreciation for not only what was sacrificed but celebration of those who survived,” said Jack Kliger, President and CEO of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. “This year as we begin to celebrate our 25th anniversary, we will remember those who we have lost this past year.”
“Together, we honor the memory of all survivors who have passed away, leaving us to carry on their brave legacy,” said Museum Trustee Rita Lerner, the daughter of two Holocaust survivors and an event Co-chair. “This year marks the second year that we are not able to gather in person. However, it is still our obligation to remember those that we lost.”
More than 4,000 people watched the program on Sunday. Anyone wishing to view the event should visit https://mjhnyc.org/watch-annual-gathering-remembrance/.
Special guests included: Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, US Senator Charles E. Schumer, Elisha Wiesel, Israeli Consul General Israel Nitzan, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Museum Board of Directors Chairman Bruce Ratner, Cantor Joseph Malovany, Stephanie Lynne Mason, Daniel Kahn, Zalmen Mlotek, and Valeriya Sholokhova.
“We must speak out in the face of antisemitism, in the face of xenophobia, homophobia and Islamophobia. In the face of anti-Asian violence, systemic racism and white supremacy, we must speak out,” said Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff. “To borrow from the Diary of Anne Frank, ‘How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.’”
Israeli Consul General Israel Nitzan said, “There is a time to keep silent and a time to speak up, a time to recover, and a time to remember, and always the time to never forget. As we witness the resurgence of antisemitism in the world, it is more important than ever to remember the martyrs who died simply because they were Jews, to remember the survivors who bore and, thank God, still bear the bitter truth, and to remember the responsibility of knowing who we are as Jews, and the challenges our people have surpassed throughout time.”
“This year Yom HaShoah carries special meaning. We’ve seen in recent times a new strength unfortunately in the forces of hate and bigotry in our country, especially the evil of antisemitism,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, noting the challenges of isolation and fear many survivors faced amid the pandemic before he read the names of those who lost their lives over this past year. “May their names be a blessing.”
Traditionally the largest Holocaust commemoration in the country, the commemoration took place virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic that has required people to observe from their homes and not in a communal space. This year’s event paid featured music, remarks from Holocaust survivors, young people, and public figures, and a candle-lighting ceremony, and paid tribute to survivors who lost their lives amid the pandemic and honored their children, grandchildren, and families.
Event Co-Chair and Young Friends of the Museum Board Member Alissa Rozen introduced the candle-lighting ceremony, Stephanie Lynne Mason sang “Eli, Eli”, Daniel Kahn sang “The Hymn of the Partisans”, and Isolde Fair and Starr Parodi performed “Won’t Be Silent” (written by Wolf Durmashkin). Viewers also saw images of those who passed away, and heard reflections from their relatives and survivors themselves.
Elisha Wiesel delivered a poignant message about finding strength among loss, saying, “I cannot tell you how to commemorate Yom HaShoah. But I hope among all that the haters seek to destroy you will continue those things that you find most precious.”
In addition to Rita Lerner and Alissa Rozen, this year’s event Co-chairs were Alyssa Greengrass, Ann Oster, and Seth Weisleder. This year’s partners are: Young Friends of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, the Anti-Defamation League, 3GNY – Descendants of Holocaust Survivors, Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York, Consulate General of Israel in New York, Manhattan Chapter of Women Holocaust Survivors, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, Selfhelp Community Services, The Blue Card, The New York Board of Rabbis, and UJA-Federation of New York.
Said Rabbi Joshua Davidson, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York, “For many of us this past year has seemed a yawning abyss, and we wondered whether we would make it through. If we have, God willing we have, it is only been by holding on to one another and to holding onto our faith that tomorrow could be brighter than today.”
Last week, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Museum launched a tribute site dedicated to sharing the stories of Holocaust survivors. The tribute site on the Museum’s website features the testimonials of relatives and images of those who lost their lives due to COVID-19 and other causes since the pandemic began. The memorial remembers those who survived the Holocaust and provides a space for relatives to share their memories of loved ones. The Museum continues encourage relatives from the New York metropolitan area and beyond to submit those stories at https://mjhnyc.org/those-weve-lost-memorial-submissions/.
About the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is New York’s contribution to the global responsibility to never forget. The Museum is committed to the crucial mission of educating diverse visitors about Jewish life before, during, and after the Holocaust. The third-largest Holocaust museum in the world and the second largest in North America, the Museum of Jewish Heritage anchors the southernmost tip of Manhattan, completing the cultural and educational landscape it shares with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage maintains a collection of almost 40,000 artifacts, photographs, documentary films, and survivor testimonies and contains classrooms, a 375-seat theater (Edmond J. Safra Hall), special exhibition galleries, a resource center for educators, and a memorial art installation, Garden of Stones, designed by internationally acclaimed sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. The Museum is the home of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene.
Currently on view is the acclaimed exhibition Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. This is the most comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the history of Auschwitz and its role in the Holocaust ever presented in North America, bringing together more than 700 original objects and 400 photographs from over 20 institutions and museums around the world. In response to demand, the exhibition’s run concludes May 2, 2021.
Also on view are Ordinary Treasures: Highlights from the Museum of Jewish Heritage Collection and Rendering Witness: Holocaust-Era Art as Testimony.
The Museum receives general operating support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts.