School commemorates Yom HaShoah with meaningful Zoom


Screenshot by Zara Ducker

During the Yom HaShoah assembly, sophomores Maiyan Lyani and Noam Zarouk present Eva Ebin’s identification bracelet from a concentration camp.

Zara Ducker, The Lion's Tale, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

Although the CESJDS community could not gather as usual on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), the community still came together on Zoom for a meaningful commemoration.

“I think we are all suffering from Zoom burnouts, but it was really heartening to see our community come together despite all the limitations of Zoom,” Jewish History Teacher Dr. Dan Rosenthal said. “I think that the importance of today and the importance of the Holocaust is able to transcend the limitations of Zoom and the limitations of being physically distanced from one another.”

Holocaust survivor Dr. Alfred Munzer shared his story and the importance of Holocaust education at the assembly. Munzer was born in the Netherlands, and he and his family were forced into hiding when he was just nine months old. He was placed with a Dutch Indonesian family with whom he survived the Holocaust. His mother survived, but his father and two older sisters died.

“I think that he has a really unique experience. He was hidden with an Indonesian family and he really knows a lot about where his family went, so he kind of has four different stories to tell and it really illustrates how many different experiences Jews had during the Holocaust,” Sophomore Josef Kay, who interviewed Munzer, said.

Munzer explained that survivors have been entrusted with telling their stories. It is necessary for younger generations to learn and also tell these stories, especially as the generations of survivors of the Holocaust pass on.

“Eventually, I will no longer be there, and there will be no survivors at some point of the Holocaust to tell the story, and so the custody…. of the story passes onto the next generation and community,” Munzer said. “It will be up to students like you who have the opportunity to hear the story of the Holocaust and the impact of the Holocaust on families first hand, and to pass that on and tell the story.”

Additionally, Sophomores Maiyan Lyani and Noam Zaruk read the names and stories of Holocaust victims in some of the JDS families during the assembly. This very personal aspect of the assembly emphasized the importance of commemorating all of the people who experienced the horrors of the Holocaust on Yom HaShoah, regardless of if students have a personal connection

Head of School Rabbi Malkus recited Al Maleh Rachamim.  Sophomore Talia Sporkin then sang an original song about the hardships the Jews went through when losing their homes, families and freedom.

“Like anything in the past year, obviously not being together does not have the same effect online as it would if we were together. However, I will say that the emails I received today about how people felt that the Tekes that happened really was still meaningful, powerful and impactful for everyone who was there,” Head of the Jewish History department Aaron Bregman said.


This story was originally published on April 9, 2021.