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Abe Oster Holocaust Remembrance Fund Opens Tenth HS Music Competition at Kaplen JCC

Tenafly—Holocaust activist and philanthropist Anne Oster is calling on high school students to commemorate the Holocaust in a unique way. Ten years ago, she and the people at the Kaplen JCC created a contest in her late husband’s name, calling on teens in grades 9-12 to submit original musical works. This year’s winner will receive the 2015 Abe Oster Remembrance Award. “I am the child of survivors, my husband was the child of survivors. I wanted his name to live on and his legacy continued,” Anne Oster told JLNJ.

The 2015 Abe Oster Holocaust Remembrance Award, a living memorial to the six million innocent Jewish victims of the Holocaust was established in 2005 to honor the memory of humanitarian Abe Oster. The contest is open to any high school students living in Bergen or enrolled in a public or private Bergen County high school. The goal of the annual contest is to encourage young minds to create works of art demonstrating a personal, historical and moral understanding of the Shoah.

Anne’s mission is to get more and more people to remember. “Survivors are passing away at an accelerated pace and in their wake, there is a deafening silence. We designed the competition to stimulate creativity, hoping that by default the contest will inspire younger generations to remain connected to those who perished; the entire families, the heroes, the children, linking forever the living to the anguish of the dead. It’s just amazing, the kids are so creative. It gets all of them thinking and for the winner it’s such a great accomplishment. It brings out the parents, family and friends,” said Oster.

This year’s contest requires applicants to create an original musical work that communicates the relevance of the Holocaust in the 21st Century. It must be a minimum of two minutes and a maximum of 10 minutes in length andbe  an original work created solely for the contest. Applicants must record the music and submit a YouTube link along with their application. All genres of music will be accepted. The deadline is March 2, 2015. First place wins a $1,000 cash prize; $500 for second. Winners will be featured at the JCC Holocaust Commemoration on April 16, 2015.

An active philanthropist and change agent, Oster has worked for years in various roles bringing awareness to the Jewish experience. Currently a Vice Chair of the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, located in Battery Park, New York, Oster recalls her husband fondly, “Abe always supported me and my work without his support I would not have been able to do any of this work.”

The Osters are sponsors of the beautiful bronze memorial garden at the main entrance to the Kaplen JCC that honors of Abe’s two siblings, Yoheved, 3 and Avrhami, 1 ½ years old, who were murdered in the Lodz ghetto.

Oster expressed her gratitude to the JCC, “It is a remarkable institution. When you walk in, right away you understand why you’re here and what it’s all about.” Upon entering the building you feel connected to the large community. On the left there is a wooden edifice honoring the two toddlers slain in the Shoah, immortalized in the garden with ongoing naming opportunity for others to donate. While the eyewitnesses are dying, thanks to the Oster and the JCC—and others like them—the survivors’ memories will not die with them. To learn more visit: www.jccotp.org/community

By Elyse Hansford

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