Jewish Family and Children’s Services, San Francisco, CA – April 8, 2021 Yom HaShoah via video

by George J Elbaum
My very first talk was on Yom HaShoah 11 years ago, April 10, 2010, organized by MIT Hillel at the Boston Holocaust Memorial. It was a painful experience, but immediately afterwards I was encouraged by the audience to “Keep doing this! Keep speaking so that your story is not forgotten.”, and today, 11 years later, this is my 293rd talk. It was organized by Penny Savryn, Education & Marketing Manager of the JFCS Holocaust Center with assistance from Shayna Dollinger and Aliza Mayer, both Pell University Fellows at the JFCS Holocaust Center, as part of the Center’s Yom HaShoah Days of Commemoration (see program below). The audience of this Zoom presentation included over 200 community participants from the Bay Area, New York, Canada, Oregon, Marbury Middle School in Alabama, as well as all of the middle-schoolers from The Brandeis School of San Francisco.

Letters from Students

Several few weeks after my talk at JFCS-organized event on Yom HaShoah I received via JFCS a large envelope with many thank-you cards from the students at The Brandeis School of San Francisco.   Last night, together with my wife Mimi we read all of them and excerpted those statements that especially resonated with us.  These excerpts are listed below.  Thank you very much for your cards, your thoughts, and your “thank you’s”.

  • My grandpa is also from Warsaw, Poland, and I believe that your speech is a sign for me to talk to him and hear his story. Thank you for being so humble and brave, it is deeply appreciated.
  • My grandpa is also a Holocaust survivor and he has only shared his story once, but I hope that if I tell him about your many speeches to schools, he will be inspired to do the same.
  • I specifically remember your story about waiting at the train station for your father who you didn’t remember. I personally have a good relationship with my dad and couldn’t imagine a world without him.
  • I hope you have a good rest of your day and week and month and life!
  • One thing I will take away is how important is sacrificing for your family when they need it most. Stay positive!
  • Thanks to you I have learned a new perspective on the Holocaust. I hope you keep telling your story and keep inspiring people.
  • Thank you so much for telling us your story. We are impressed how you chose to not listen to the guidance counsellor and to follow your dreams.  We are inspired to do the same and are grateful for your time.…… Class of 2020


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