Home Community Yom HaShoah Commemoration features 200 guests

Yom HaShoah Commemoration features 200 guests

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Holocaust Survivor Halina Zimm with guest speaker Stuart Eizenstat.

By Samuel Asher
Executive Director, Virginia Holocaust Museum

More than 200 people gathered at the Museum on May 5th for our 2024 Yom HaShoah Commemoration.

The Museum’s mission of preserving and documenting the history of the Holocaust and other genocides in order to educate and inspire future generations to fight prejudice and all forms of indifference has never been more vital or important than it is today.

Highlights of the day included Carole Weinstein awarding the winners of the 2024 Student Visual Arts Contest.

Cantor Sarah Beck-Berman of Congregation Beth Ahabah mesmerizing the audience with her soulful chanting of the El Maleh Rachamin and the Mourner’s Kaddish.

Holocaust Survivor Odette Cook accompanied by her daughter Valerie Grant.

The lightening of the Memorial candles by Holocaust Survivor Halina Zimm; Holocaust Survivor Dr. Roger Loria accompanied by his daughter Rachel Loria; Holocaust Survivor Inga Horowitz; Holocaust Survivor Odette Cook accompanied by her daughter Valerie Grant; and Second-Generation Survivor Hannah Cohen and Second-Generation Survivor Gabriel Laufer.

Longtime community leader and attorney Tommy Baer introduced the keynote speaker, Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, Council Chair of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum who spoke for 20 minutes on how the Holocaust was not inevitable, but due to a systemic lack of indifference and inaction from around the world – eerily reminiscent of what is happening in Israel today with Hamas.

After the formal commemoration, guests stayed and mingled eager to be in the company of old friends and colleagues with a shared love of Judaism and concern for what is happening to Jews throughout the world.

Marcus and Carole Weinstein.

As I write these words, a construction crew is hard at work on the second floor of the Museum erecting Virginia’s first and only Holographic theater with the purpose of sharing Holocaust Survivor’s testimonies to all who come through our doors from now until perpetuity.

As Rabbi Dovid Asher of Keneseth Beth Israel Synagogue alluded to as he began his invocation, with the words “On Yom HaShoah, we gather for both an awesome and awful commemoration,” I believe it is in our power to awake from complacency, learn from history and ensure that Never Again truly means Never Again!