Commemoration & Celebration
The month of April at the Federation is where the “Yoms” take center stage. Yom Hashoah, Yom Hazikaron, and Yom Haatzmaut connect us to the collective Jewish world through its history and its struggle for liberty and freedom. This year, we invite you once again to come together to share and learn of our “Shituf Goral,” our shared fate. At its core, Judaism is based on this concept that the fate of all Jews is intertwined, and while Israel may be on the other side of the world for us, we cannot elude the connection we share as a people, as Am Yisrael, the People of Israel.
Shirlee and I, along with Sid Shroyer, Terry Tulchinsky, and Bob Feferman, have been hard at work to provide Holocaust education supplements to public and private schools. So far, we have served 14 schools with hours of lessons in front of hundreds of students. Working with the Holocaust Education Speaker’s Bureau has been eye-opening for us, learning how little the average student learns in a secular school setting. Questions like, “Was Hitler even real?” is not something we expected to face. But with the support of the superintendent of South Bend schools, we have become mandatory guest speakers for all 7th grade classes! We continue to reach out and have done work with schools in the PHM district and southwest Michigan schools.
This leads us to our Yom Hashoah program this year, where we invited one of our favorite schools, Discovery Middle School, to present their reflections on what they have learned about the Holocaust through a class art project. The top pairs in the class will present to our community, and in addition, light candles with other honorees in memory of those who perished. This will be followed by a student-led interview of Danica Davidson, a local author of the book, “I Will Protect You,” the story of Eva Mozes Kor, of blessed memory. The book is available for purchase from the Federation when you register for the event. Please come with questions!
“A spring day will come
The Cyclamen will flower
The red Anemone on the hills and the slopes
He who walks the paththat we walked
Will not forget us
The words of the song Bab-El-Wad, the Arabic name for the Shaar HaGai, were written in 1948 by Haim Guri, a Palmach fighter, who himself participated in the War of Independence. Guri helped with not only paving the path to Jerusalem, but the path of how we commemorate our fallen in Israel. If you have deja vu, it’s because Shirlee spoke about this once before (April OCN of 2022), where she took a quote from Natan Yonatan’s poem, and gave a whole shpiel about the polarity of a land flowing with milk and honey vs a land that consumes its inhabitants, and how this bittersweet reality results in Memorial Day being back-to-back with Independence Day. This emotional roller coaster is something we will try to mimic with our 75th celebration.
The day will begin in conversation with IDF veteran Michael Aaronson from our partnership region. Michael served in the Special Forces between 1972-1975, took part in many commando operations, and was wounded in combat during the Yom Kippur War. We will finish the Yom HaZikaron section with our traditional Israeli lunch. Following lunch will be a performance from the Israeli American comedian Avi Liberman. Avi has performed stand-up comedy on CBS’s “Late Late Show,” on Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend” and many more, and since 2001, has arranged widely acclaimed stand-up comedy tours in Israel to help boost morale, while donating all of the proceeds to charity.
We hope to see your support at our Yom events. Am Yisrael Chai!
Israel Program Director