2019 Community Holocaust Commemoration San Diego

Registration for Yom Hashoah is closed and the theatre is at capacity. Walk-ins may view a stream of the program in the JCC library or tune in on Facebook

From Reel to "Real"

Sunday, April 28, 2019

1:30pm - 3:30pm

Location: Lawrence Family JCC
4126 Executive Drive
La Jolla, CA 92037

Featured Speaker, Heather Maio-Smith

Managing Director at Conscience Display 


Heather Smith is an experiential exhibit designer who has exhibited in Los Angeles, Cuba, and the United Nations. Heather is the concept creator and producer of New Dimensions in Testimony, the technology behind future generations being able to have a conversation with a Holocaust survivor. Heather partnered with the USC Shoah Foundation for New Dimensions in Testimony to develop a new interview methodology. Heather now serves as the CEO of StoryFile, an interactive storytelling app that uses powerful natural language processing and artificial intelligence to make video interaction feel just like a real conversation. By using AI to document our lives in real time, stories can be preserved and interacted with for generations to come. At the heart of Heather’s work is the underlying need to share, preserve, and experience the stories of humanity. Heather’s work has been featured on NBC’s The Today Show, The New Yorker, and on BBC.


Righteous Among the Nations

Presented to Wilhelmina & Cornelis de Ru by the Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Southwest and accepted by their son, Herman de Ru

In 1963, Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel, embarked upon a worldwide project to pay tribute to the Righteous Among the Nations who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. This represents a unique and unprecedented attempt by the victims to honor individuals from within the nations of perpetrators, collaborators, and bystanders, who stood by the victims' side during the darkest time of history. As of January 2018, Yad Vashem has recognized 26,973 Righteous Among the Nations from 51 countries.



Keeping Survivor Stories Alive 



116 Cameras



What is Yom Hashoah?

The full name of the day commemorating the victims of the Holocaust is “Yom Hashoah Ve-Hagevurah“– literally the “Day of (Remembrance of) the Holocaust and the Heroism.” It is marked on the 27th day in the month of Nisan — a week after the seventh day of Passover, and a week before Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day for Israel’s fallen soldiers).


The date was selected by the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) on April 12, 1951. The full name became formal in a law that was enacted by the Knesset on August 19, 1953. Although the date was established by the Israeli government, it has become a day commemorated by Jewish communities and individuals worldwide.


In the early 1950s, education about the Holocaust emphasized the suffering inflicted on millions of European Jews by the Nazis. Surveys conducted in the late 1950s indicated that young Israelis did not sympathize with the victims of the Holocaust, since they believed that European Jews were “led like sheep for slaughter.” The Israeli educational curriculum began to shift the emphasis to documenting how Jews resisted their Nazi tormentors through “passive resistance”–retaining their human dignity in the most unbearable conditions–and by “active resistance,” fighting the Nazis in the ghettos and joining underground partisans who battled the Third Reich in its occupied countries.


Since the early 1960s, the sound of a siren on Yom Hashoah stops traffic and pedestrians throughout the State of Israel for two minutes of silent devotion. All radio and television programs during this day are connected in one way or another with the Jewish destiny in World War II, including personal interviews with survivors. Even the musical programs are adapted to the atmosphere of Yom Hashoah. There is no public entertainment on Yom Hashoah, as theaters, cinemas, pubs, and other public venues are closed throughout Israel.

Jews in North America observe Yom Hashoah within the synagogue as well as in the broader Jewish community. Commemorations range from synagogue services to communal vigils and educational programs. A few congregations find it more practical to hold commemorative ceremonies on the Sunday closest to Yom Hashoah. Many Yom Hashoah programs feature a talk by a Holocaust survivor, recitation of appropriate songs and readings, or viewing of a Holocaust-themed film. Some communities choose to emphasize the depth of loss that Jews experienced in the Holocaust by reading the names of Holocaust victims one after another — dramatizing the unfathomable notion of six million deaths. Many Jewish schools also hold Holocaust-related educational programs on or around Yom Hashoah.

Since 1988 in Poland, a memorial service has been held after a 3-kilometer walk by thousands of participants from Auschwitz to Birkenau in what has become known as The March of the Living.


Source: My Jewish Learning