Yom Hashoah Commemoration

“Gevurah: Heroes Sung and Unsung”

Annual Sonoma County Holocaust Commemoration Ceremony

The Jewish community of Sonoma County is hosting a commemoration of the Holocaust on April 19, 2015. New this year, this commemorative event will also feature an essay contest open to youth who are Sonoma County residents.

When: Sunday, April 19, 2:00 pm

Where: The Friedman Center, 4676 Mayette Avenue, Santa Rosa

Every year on Yom Hashanah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) communities around the world hold ceremonies in memory of those who died and to ensure that this genocide, in which six million Jews were killed, is not forgotten and not repeated. This year, Sonoma County’s annual Holocaust remembrance will build on this event’s full name, Yom Hashanah v’HaGevurah (Holocaust and Heroism Day), to focus on the heroism of those who faced Nazi terror.

Heroes and heroines of the Holocaust emerged in many forms – from individuals who managed to survive against all odds under incomprehensible circumstances to the organized, armed actions of partisans and ghetto fighters. Under constant and absolute threat of death, countless heroic acts were committed by survivors, righteous Gentiles, and others, such as the unnamed farmers and neighbors who smuggled food, quieted babies during raids, and hid families, as well as the soldiers who fought and the diplomats who issued fake passports. The program acknowledges all of these diverse heroic acts.

This this year’s theme reflects the critical role every individual can play in addressing injustice. The ceremony will include a candle lighting ceremony by Sonoma County’s Holocaust survivors – each escorted by a teen and local survivor stories of resilience and heroism.  

New this year is an essay contest open to all Sonoma County young people in grades 6-12. The topic of is, “Why did some individuals, in the darkest political times and under the threat of reprisal, choose to help those in need?” Essays must be submitted by March 13, 2015. A cash prize will be awarded to the winner at the middle and high school level. Complete details and essay contest guidelines can be found at http://goo.gl/7nyrvX, or by contacting Paula Simon, North Bay Regional Director, Jewish Community Relations Council, psimon@jcrc.org, phone: 415-492-2127.

The commemoration is co-sponsored by Sonoma County synagogues; Jewish Community Center of Sonoma County; the Jewish Community Relations Council, North Bay Region; Jewish Family & Children’s Services Sonoma Region; the Alliance for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide; and Chevra Kadisha of Sonoma County.