On Thursday, April 16th, the Student Activities Department at MTA put together an incredibly meaningful program to recognize Yom Ha’shoah. Nearly a month ago, many MTA classes started reading 70 Days for 70 Years. This sefer comprises 70 eclectic essays, ranging from pure historical anecdotes and allegories, to fundamental exposition of Jewish thought and philosophy; the essays are composed by a variety of well-known authors. The sefer and the Yom Ha’shoah program, also labeled ”70 Days for 70 Years,” expressed the need and obligation to “remember the past to build the future.”
The special program on Thursday included presentations by various students—who chronicled their personal relationship to the Holocaust—and recorded speeches. The recordings ranged from a video of Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, former Chief Rabbi of Israel, to a passionate speech by Rabbi Baruch Wieder, the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Ha’kotel in Israel.
One student speech in particular stood out to many of the boys. Yehuda Weschler, an MTA senior, spoke about how he was set to interview his grandfather about his Holocaust experience as part of the special MTA senior elective, “Names Not Numbers.” Unfortunately, his grandfather, Dr. Richard Weschler, a successful chemist who broke out of the chains of the Holocaust to be mesaken olam with his inherent chemistry skill, passed away just before Yehuda was able to interview him. Yehuda spoke about how Dr. Weschler was not a free man for the first half of his life, but he never gave up. He rebuilt his family after the horrific Holocaust and made sure to raise his family with Jewish values. Yehuda Weschler’s speech was followed by equally powerful virtual presentations by Rabbi Lau and Rabbi Wieder. The program inspired the students to learn from the past—from past experiences and past mistakes—so as to build a better future for Am Yisrael.
By Rafi Anapolle