Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway High School students commemorated Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, with a meaningful assembly run by the students on May 2.
Yom Hashoah is a day of memorial and reflection for Jews in Israel, the United States and across the world. This day commemorates the immeasurable tragedy that was the Holocaust, giving survivors the recognition due for the horrors they endured, while allowing relatives and the world at large the opportunity to remember those who perished. We are reminded that in never forgetting, we hope to ensure that this will never happen again.
The student assembly included a presentation given by several seniors who participated in HAFTR’s Mission to Poland earlier this year. The HAFTR auditorium was silent as the student body listened to the seniors’ most meaningful experiences as they spoke of seeing, with their own eyes, the places where unimaginable horrors took place during the Holocaust.
Their stories told of their visit to the concentration camps: their thoughts and feelings after stepping foot on sacred ground where many of their own family members once stood. Many of the students who traveled on the mission said that it had a profound impact upon them. The assembly was an especially meaningful and somber way for HAFTR High School to join other Jews nationwide in Yom Hashoah memorials upon the heels of the shootings at the Chabad of Poway outside of San Diego, Calif. on April 27 and the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh last October.
Holocaust Remembrance day is always immediately followed by Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, and Yom Ha’Atzmaut, or Israel’s Independence Day. On the evening of May 8, HAFTR High celebrated Yom Ha’Atzmaut with an exciting and lively concert given by the popular Jewish singer, Simcha Leiner.
The students enjoyed the festivities, singing and dancing with each other, as well as with faculty, on what was the 71st anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, just a few short years after World War II. HAFTR students never take for granted and are always grateful for the freedom they enjoy as American Jews to celebrate their heritage.