By Samuel Asher
It is my privilege to serve as Executive Director of the Museum.
Today we commemorate Yom HaShoah – the annual day of remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust observed by Jewish communities worldwide.
I would like to introduce violinist Jocelyn Vorenberg from the Richmond Symphony who is going to play two pieces for you. Jocelyn has been a great friend of the Museum. She organized many Chamber Music Concerts for us during Violins of Hope. She is an exceptional musician.
I would like to thank Carole and Marcus Weinstein for their support. Marcus is the Chairman of the Board of VHM. And Carole and Marcus – we can’t thank you enough for all you do for the Museum.
Now. I would like to ask for a moment of silence to remember our good friends and supporters that we lost in the last year: Dr. Norman Sporn, Charles “Chick” Becker, Dr. Charles Beorn, Myrick Cohen, Julia Ferne Beck-Berman, Dr. David D. Burhans and my wife.
In today’s atmosphere of political, cultural, ideological and racial divisions, the mission of the Virginia Holocaust Museum has never been more relevant or vital.
The pledge of Never Again is made by all of us each day. We pledge to remember the Holocaust – and pledge to use the history of the Holocaust and other genocides to inspire future generations of Virginians to fight prejudice and indifference.
In reflecting back, it was just a short three years ago that ADL Director Jonathan Greenblatt was scheduled to speak here in this very room on Yom HaShoah. But he had to cancel at the last minute because of a shooting at the Poway Synagogue in California that left one woman dead and injured three other persons.
So, it is particularly meaningful that you will hear from another ADL executive – our keynote speaker, Meredith Weisel , Regional Director of ADL, who will report on the status of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States – and specially here in Virginia.
Regarding Virginia, I am pleased to report that Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Commission to Combat Antisemitism in Virginia (that I was honored to serve on) has made significant headway. There will be a Bill signing of the IHRA definition bill on antisemitism – HB 1606 – on Monday, May 8th at the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond.
This comes after months of hard work by the commission in which they produced a report with 21 recommendations. The IHRA definition is the first piece of legislation that was passed, and it was the right place to start.
Now, back to the Museum. Last year, we opened our new Children’s Memorial, which was made possible by a generous donation from Dr. Donald S. and Beejay Brown. The exhibit features an infinity mirror, somber lighting, and an infinite panorama of empty classroom desks – to honor the unfathomable number of children and their unborn descendants – who were all victims of the Nazis’ Final Solution.
Our Museum Capital improvements were made possible by your generous contributions to our Capital Campaign.
See more photos from the program: