created at: 2014-05-05On Tuesday, April 29, the day after Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), more than 100 people, 80 of whom were Holocaust survivors, attended a special luncheon hosted by JF&CS Schechter Holocaust Services (SHS) and supported by CJP and Generations After at Kehillath Israel Synagogue in Brookline. Rabbi Hamilton began the program and was later joined by two active duty Israeli Defense Force soldiers who poignantly spoke about their grandparents who survived the Holocaust and imbued them with life-affirming messages of hope, strength, and love.

I was honored to have the opportunity to speak on behalf of the SHS staff and share my feelings of victory: victory that the Jewish people survived under great odds and victory that they chose to live with compassion and empathy. Many survivors raised respectful, successful children who are now themselves raising children who are proud of their grandparents’ histories. One great-grandchild in the room, Hannah Hiam, currently an intern for SHS and a student at Gann Academy, does not take things for granted as a result of what her relatives faced. “I seek ways to challenge myself and give back in part to honor my grandmother and great-grandmother’s perseverance.”

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