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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


March 23, 2018  RSS feed

Text: T T T

At Tampa Yom HaShoah program, songs of resilience; survivor stories through teen lens

Rabbi Noam Katz Rabbi Noam Katz Survivors of the Nazi death camps and those who fled the oppression will have their stories told through the eyes of today’s teenagers at a community Yom HaShoah program on Sunday, April 8 at 2 p.m. at Congregation Schaarai Zedek in Tampa.

Along with the Holocaust survivors, the program will feature middle and high school students from both sides of the bay, songs of resilience and renewal by nationally acclaimed musician Rabbi Noam Katz, and a candle-lighting ceremony. The program is being put on by the Tampa Rabbinical Association and Tampa Jewish Federation.

Students in Jewish youth groups from congregations in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties will gather at the Tampa temple at noon for a dairy lunch and to meet with the local Holocaust survivors. Groups of students will be assigned to each survivor to hear their accounts firsthand, said Rabbi Richard Birnholz, who took part in planning the Yom HaShoah program.

He said the youths will use poster boards to write summaries of the stories the survivors tell them. Each storyboard summary, with a photo of the survivor, will be presented to the survivors during the 2 p.m. program at the temple.

Cindy Minetti of Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services, which runs the region’s Holocaust Survivor Program, is assembling a group of survivors to participate in the Yom HaShoah observance. Due to the ages and health conditions of the survivors, she said she is uncertain exactly who will participate, but she expects five to eight survivors will be on hand to share their stories with the youth.

Besides creating a written version of the survivors’ stories, the teens will retell their accounts at the ceremony. Minetti said this helps show the survivors that their stories live on and it stresses the importance of learning from generation to generation.

Amid prayers and the retelling of the stories, Rabbi Katz will perform. The rabbi, who is also serving that weekend as artist-in-residence at Congregation Schaarai Zedek, is a longtime camp song leader/ educator and currently serves as rabbi/dean of Jewish Living at a Toronto day school. Considered one of the most influential voices in contemporary Jewish music, his newest album, After the Flood, includes 14 new songs of “resilience and remembrance.”

A candle lighting ceremony will be held during the program. Rabbi Birnholz explained there will be six candles lit – one for the survivors who were in death camps, one for the refugees who fled from the Holocaust, one for the children of death camp survivors, one for the children of the refugees, one for the grandchildren of survivors and refugees, and a final one for the unknowns who died during the Holocaust and were never accounted for.

Sponsoring congregations include Beth Israel of Sun City Center, Beth Shalom of Brandon and Beth Am, Kol Ami, Mekor Shalom, Rodeph Sholom, all of Tampa, and Temple Beth Shalom of Winter Haven.

Congregation Schaarai Zedek is at 3303 W. Swann Ave. This event is free and open to the entire community.

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