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Or Atid Hosts Community-wide Yom HaShoah Event

By Ron Fink

Congregation Or Atid hosted a community-wide Yom HaShoah/Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day Commemoration Program preceded by a delicious Israeli breakfast, on Sunday, April 16 at the synagogue.

Ben Ipson, grandson of honored guest Survivor Jay Ipson, retold his family’s story with both his proud grandparents in attendance.

Ben Ipson, grandson of Jay Ipson, shares remarks about his father’s and other family members efforts to survive during the Holocaust.

One way to remember the 6 million lives lost is through education. Ben amplified his family history by retelling their memories as Survivors.  It is through telling his grandfather’s story that these memories are strengthened and won’t fade away. By retelling his family’s story, we can hope the mistakes of the past aren’t repeated.

Ben led the audience through an organized history of his grandfather’s life and events leading up to, during and following the Holocaust. We learned of the great and passionate courage of neighbors who supported the family during the war and saved their lives. Good neighbors who understood that an attack on one minority is an attack on all of the community.

Samuel Asher, Director of the Virginia Holocaust Museum, a free public history museum in downtown Richmond, spoke during the program.

Virginia Holocaust Museum Executive Director Samuel Asher delivers remarks.

He recognized Jay Ipson as one of the youngest Holocaust Survivors and co-founder of the museum in 1997. The Museum shares powerful and personal stories of victims, Survivors and global history events of the Holocaust.

Mr. Asher invited all participants of the morning program to attend the currently expanding museum because of its relevance.

Visiting a museum, knowing someone Jewish who witnessed and survived the Holocaust and attending educational programs such as today’s, is strongly linked to developing Holocaust knowledge that can help prevent a future Holocaust.

A Question and Answer session brought attention to the importance of becoming a voice against hatred by reiterating, “if you see something, say something.”


Holocaust education is dedicated to the principle that genocide should not be repeated and that vigilance must prevail to ensure freedom and peace at all costs.

“Never Again” should we have to see the horrors of the Holocaust. It is critical we learn from the lessons of the Holocaust, so they don’t happen again. Of course, it should be emphasized that genocide is not strictly limited to the Jewish community today. “Hate is hate.”

The program stressed that teaching the next generation is vital to understanding these hard lessons in history.

Ben Ipson and Rabbi Sherry Grinsteiner met with the younger school-aged students at the conclusion of the formal program as a part of the morning’s agenda.

Local VCU Jewish Life Students with their Director Ira Korshin, and teen students of COA, recited a Yellow Candle prayer for mourning the losses of the Holocaust and remembering the six million by reciting a blessing over the yellow candle to bring light to the world.


Susan Greenbaum, a local singer and songwriter, masterfully sang the Partisan’s Song, Zog Nit Keinmol, which in Yiddish proclaims, “We are STILL HERE!.”

This was followed by the reading of A Prayer for Yom Hashoah/Holocaust Remembrance Day by host, Russell Finer to close the morning program.

See several more photos below from the program.

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