By Rachel Canter, Ninth-Grader
The Hebrew Academy of Nassau County High School commemorated Yom HaShoah this past Monday, April 28. All students participated in a meaningful program at which they remembered, and reflected upon, the Holocaust. The program featured a film of interviews created by students in the Holocaust Studies class, an essay-reading presentation by the recipient of the Moshe Flescher Holocaust Memorial Scholarship, Leora Schwadron, and the presence of one of the survivors in the video, Mrs. Helen Rosenstark. In addition, there was a candle-lighting ceremony by grandchildren of survivors in memory of the six million Jews who perished, as well as a presentation of an inspirational piece of artwork created by freshman Jonah Maryles followed by a heart-warming performance of Ani Maamin and Hatikvah by members of the HANC boys’ chorus.
This fall, HANC participated in the innovative Adopt a Survivor program, which provides students with the valuable opportunity to interview Holocaust survivors and hear their stories. Seventy years after the Shoah, many people deny that the Holocaust ever happened. In 20 years, those numbers are certain to increase. The goal of the Adopt a Survivor program is for people to take on the stories of individual survivors and relay them to as many people as possible. The HANC High School students who participated in this program created a film not only about the survivors’ stories, but also about the students’ own journeys in learning the stories and preserving them.
The students, along with their instructor, Rabbi Aaron Friedler, took several trips to the Holocaust Resource Center in Manhasset and met with Mr. Irving Roth—a Holocaust survivor, director of the Center, and founder of the Adopt a Survivor program. Students learned that if the children of their generation do not take on the responsibility of remembering the Holocaust, there will soon be no one to tell the story. It is our duty to learn and pass on these stories to ensure they are never forgotten.
During the program, Mr. Alan and Mrs. Judi Eisenman, parents of three HANC graduates, presented Leora Schwadron with a tuition scholarship award. This annual scholarship is sponsored for ninth-grade students in memory of Mrs. Eisenman’s father, a’h, Mr. Moshe Flescher, who was born in Poland in 1921. As the youngest of seven children, he survived the tumultuous period by hiding in the forest with five siblings. Mrs. Eisenman explained that the purpose of this scholarship was to publicize the atrocities that were committed against our people through education.
Students left the program feeling inspired and encouraged to remember the Holocaust and committed to telling survivors’ stories to everyone they can. v