Special guest blog by Maytal Kowalski

Talking about Yom HaShoah- Holocaust Remembrance Day

 

Hello everyone!  It’s Maytal here, from the Al Green Theatre- a dear friend of the fine folks at Shakespeare in Action and host to their production of The Diary of Anne Frank.  I really hope you have had a chance to see this fantastic show and that it’s got you thinking about Anne’s compelling story.

On the 27th day of Nissan on the Jewish calendar (April 19th on the Christian calendar), the state of Israel commemorates the horrors and tragedies of the Holocaust.  This day is called Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Day in English (Yom=day, HaShoah=the Holocaust).

 

This is the time of year that both Israeli and non-Israeli, Jewish and non-Jewish high school students hold a memorial service at the site of Auschwitz called March of the Living.  In Israel, sirens sound across the country at 10am for citizens to observe a moment of silence and remembrance.  The entire country stops- cars pull over to the side of the road, TV broadcasts come to a halt and for two minutes silence is observed.  The 27th day of Nissan is eight days before Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day) and the timing is no coincidence- you grieve for those you have lost but then celebrate all that you now have.  Doesn’t this remind you a bit of Anne Frank?  After all, as she said, “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”

 

There are plenty of stories of survival, hope and determination that came out of the Holocaust.  Another young boy by the name of Felix Opatowski, only 15 at the time that he was deported to Auschwitz, survived the Holocaust and is now living in Toronto.  He recently published a book about his experiences during the Holocaust, entitled “Gatehouse to Hell.”  Opatowski’s story, like Anne’s, demonstrates the boundless determination of the human spirit.  Gatehouse to Hell is a candid and heart-rending account of a teenage boy who comes of age in desperate conditions, putting himself at risk to help others, forming bonds of friendship and holding onto hope for the future.

 

Opaltowski will be at the Miles Nadal JCC, speaking about his book and his experiences during the Holocaust on Sunday, April 22 at 11 AM for Yom Hashoah, in a special event co-presented with The Azrieli Foundation.

Interested in attending?  Please contact sharonis@mnjcc.org or 416-924-6211 x 154 for more info.

 

Finally, I would like to say that it was great to have you all in our theatre, and we hope that the story of Anne Frank has left a lasting impression on you.

 

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of all the beauty that still remains.” – Anne Frank.

 

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