From the moment Nitzan told us we could implement a program called Zikaron BaSalon, I knew I wanted to do it. I had just experienced an incredible and unifying Shabbat with my community. I wanted more people to feel what I felt and think about what I thought.
At Kallah, there was a whole weekend called Shabbat to Remember, and during that time, Holocaust survivors joined us at Perlman camp, and we had services, a panel, stories, and so much more with them. The stories stuck with me. Hearing about the survivors’ persistence and ability to overcome obstacles was like nothing I had ever heard. I had never listened to a Holocaust survivor in person, and I knew that people in my region most likely hadn’t either. So, I knew I had to make it a reality. When I returned home, I reached out to Nitzan, BBYO’s Israeli Shlicha. After much perseverance, she helped me find a survivor in the Boston area. I started talking to Esther over the phone, and her excitement almost overpowered mine— I knew she would help make this event memorable for everyone.
Esther first entered my house and was ready, to begin with letters, poems, and articles in hand. We started with a lengthy explanation of the Holocaust, the meaning behind it, and its entirety from different perspectives. One girl acknowledged that our history classes had never gone into that much depth, and we concluded it might be because they don’t know-how. We need first-hand accounts to help convey this message. Guest speakers are coming into schools, books to read, and interviews. The first-hand accounts are going to be gone soon, so we must become those second-hand accounts. Listening to the stories, poems, and letters is growing more important than ever before.
Each survivor’s story is different, but the one that Esther told will stay with me. I know that if everyone were to host a Holocaust survivor, the story said would remain with them as well. The personable environments that Zikaron BaSalon experiences provide are memorable, and I can’t encourage them enough. This program was thought of so highly by my chapter because it was not a typical program or a venue event. The support from Nitzan and passion from members to take part in the game makes this extremely approachable and doable.
Imagine how unified our movement would be if every region took part in Zikaron BaSalon. Everyone would feel this feeling that I am trying to describe. Everyone would think the thoughts that I can’t articulate.
We must be the generation of continuing the stories, poems, and letters. It is a challenging but empowering task. As a movement, let’s strive for the challenge.
Anna Schulman is a BBG from New England Region who loves going to the beach, skiing, and taking pictures.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
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