May 23, 2024
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May 23, 2024
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Ma’ayanot Marks Yom HaShoah

Ma’ayanot commemorated Yom HaShoah with a candle-lighting ceremony after tefillah and a kumzitz in which faculty members and students shared personal stories to honor survivors and remember family members who perished during the Holocaust. Students were also privileged to hear from Frima Laub, a survivor from Poland and grandmother of Ma’ayanot alumnae Ayala and Michal Laub.

Laub was just 6-years-old when her family was sent to a ghetto and then rounded up by the Nazis for extermination. Her mother bravely helped her and her sister escape. She was then hidden by non-Jews, while her mother and sister were smuggled to Romania. For months, Laub was homeless, sleeping under a porch with a dog to keep her warm. She wandered the streets looking for food and shelter. Eventually she was reunited with her mother and sister and managed to survive.

Laub wrote a book for children about her experiences called “Between the Shadows.” She also recorded testimony for the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. and Steven Spielberg’s visual history archive. “We the survivors depend on the next generation to pass on what Hitler did to us,” she told the students. “No matter what happens in life, never lose hope, never lose emunah.” Today she lives in Cedarhurst, New York, and feels blessed to have three children, 13 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren who live in Jerusalem.

Principal Rivka Kahan shared stories about her late father-in-law Mr. Jeno Kahan, who survived labor and concentration camps yet maintained an optimistic view of life. “Each person was a world within himself,” she said. “We want to keep in mind the scope of the tragedy, while at the same time focusing on the individuals who suffered.”

Aliza Cohn, a freshman, shared stories of her great-grandparents who were sent to Auschwitz. They were saved by Oskar Schindler. Aliza has vivid memories of her great grandmother saying, “I won. I have children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and each one is revenge against Hitler.” She passed away this year at the age of 99.

Rabbi Jay Goldmintz related his first experience of visiting Poland with high school students. The group was taken by surprise when a young Catholic man approached them carrying a photo album with photographs of Jewish families that he had collected. “He said, ‘Jews contributed to the building of this town. How could I not preserve their memory?’ He made it his life task to name every Jewish resident of the town,” Rabbi Goldmintz told the students. “At that moment, I was reminded that there is as much good in this world as there is evil.” He then posed a question to the students, “How many of us know the names of our relatives from Europe? Don’t we also have the obligation to learn their names and carry on their history?”

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