March 27, 2019
Rabbi and Mrs. Yisrael Meir Lau. Standing: Chazzan and Mrs. Yosef Malovaney.
Amazing, unbelievable, awe-inspiring. Those were just some of the comments I heard over Shabbat Parshat Zachor at a weekend organized by Cantor Benny Rogosnitzky. When my dear friend Benny invited me for the Shabbat, I had no idea what it was about, but because everything he is connected to is top-notch, I gladly accepted his invitation.
The next e-mail I received about the Shabbat was from the Museum of Eternal Faith and Resilience. I had never heard of that museum, but I understood it was connected to the Holocaust. The weekend was to be held in the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan, and the list of speakers looked outstanding. I was really looking forward to it.
I arrived at the Pierre Hotel Erev Shabbat Zachor and stepped into old-world elegance, a hotel fit for royalty – perfectly suited for this outstanding event. I was immediately ushered into a room where the film “Restitution: Art and Memory” was being shown. Produced by Dr. David Milch and John Friedman, the film covers the Nazis’ theft of artwork and the incredible efforts – which continue to this day – to reclaim the art after the war.
Rabbi Avraham Kaminer and Ambassador Ido Aharoni
Throughout Shabbat, we heard from former Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, the youngest survivor of Buchenwald; Rabbi Y.Y. Jacobson; Professor Alan Dershowitz; Malcom Hoenlein; Ambassador Ido Aharoni; Mark Tress; and Elly Kleinman. It’s hard to say which speaker was the most captivating. I can only say that this was the first weekend I ever attended during which I couldn’t miss a single presentation. I have been to many inspiring Shabbatons, but this one I will never forget.
What is the Museum of Eternal Faith and Resilience (also called Ginzach)? It is not just another Holocaust museum. Located in Bnei Brak, Israel, it documents and highlights the faith and resilience of Jews who kept their faith during the Holocaust, whether they survived or not.
It is designed to pass on to future generations the legacy of Jewish values. It is the story of the men in Auschwitz who gave up their piece of bread to be able to daven one time from a siddur smuggled into the concentration camp. It is the story of a woman on the line to extermination, holding her one-week-old baby boy, begging any mohel to circumcise him so that he wouldn’t go up to heaven uncircumcised.
It is the story of people who went through hell on earth and continued to rebuild after the war stronger in their faith than before. It is the personal stories of untold numbers of Jews that are archived in this museum.
The primary purpose of the museum is “shaping the national consciousness of the Jewish People in a way that will serve as a tool to empower young students and strengthen their values… It is a testament to enduring Jewish values and faith in the face of insurmountable odds.”
Some of its artifacts were given to it by Yad Vashem and some by Elly Kleinman, founder of Amud Aish Memorial Museum in Brooklyn, N.Y., among others. This is the museum to bring students and all young people to – to show them that the Holocaust wasn’t about Jews going like “sheep going to the slaughter,” as so often has been said. It was about Jews holding onto their faith, even strengthening it. It makes one very proud.
Yad Vashem is the story of the Holocaust and a must-see for the whole world. But this museum is the next stop, especially for the young people of this generation and all the following ones.
Ginzach (or Archives, which is what the word means), has actually been around for many years, but it has outgrown its small space and now has acquired ground to build a world-class museum, a museum of “Kiddush Hashem archives,” to quote President Reuven Rivlin of Israel. This will be a “Global Educational Center, using 21st-century technology, including the use of virtual reality and interactive holograms able to respond to students’ dilemmas.”
In our generation, we have already seen a lot of Holocaust denial. In this new museum, young people will be able to “talk” to Holocaust survivors through virtual reality technology. Nothing is more powerful than bringing a story to life. Nothing better refutes Holocaust naysayers. This is the Museum of Eternal Faith and Resilience
In case anyone believes anti-Semitism is a thing of the past, Malcolm Hoenlein was at the Shabbat Zachor weekend to remind us that not only is it thriving, but in Europe it is escalating very quickly and is already readily apparent in the U.S. as well. Professor Dershowitz said we have to be vigilant in stopping the upsurge of anti-Semitism on college campuses while also arguing that we should not let critics say that we have too much power in the United States; we should say that we don’t have enough power.
The Holocaust stories of Rabbi Lau and Rabbi Y.Y. Jacobson were powerful and will long be remembered even as we struggle to digest them. I couldn’t help but think what a difference this museum will make, showcasing faith and resilience.
We were also treated to the magnificent voice of Chazzan Yosef Malovaney of the Fifth Avenue Synagogue and the beautiful voice of Chazzan Shai Abramson, chief cantor of the IDF, for Shabbos davening. Both were accompanied by a choir under the direction of Maestro Russell Ger.
After Shabbos, there was a banquet featuring the exquisite voice of Chazzan Yisrael Meir Helfgot, chief cantor at Park East synagogue. We also heard from Leah Shneirer, who referred to herself as a miracle child. Her mother, a twin, was experimented on by Dr. Mengele, yemach shmo. The fact that she married after the war and tried to bear children is another example of the faith and resilience this museum symbolizes.
There was also an exhibit of artwork by artists Lauren Bergman and Ronit Forman Oanono, who took stories of children murdered in the concentration camps and painted portraits of them. These portraits capture the essence of these children and brought tears to the eyes.
(L-R) Malkie Spitz, Dena Greenfield, Shprintzy Hochstein
I saw many friends at this weekend, among them Silvia Fishbaum; Sara and Howard Gruenspecht; Michael Wildes, mayor of Englewood, N.J. and his wife Amy; Malkie Spitz; Effy and Shprintzy Hochstein; Judge and Fran Schulman; Debbie and Kenny Rochlin; Rabbi Moshe and Corrine Fuchs; and David Greenfield, among others.
All were unanimous in praising the outstanding efforts put in by Rabbi Avraham Kaminer, chairman of this campaign; Rabbi Tzvi Skulsky, president of the museum; Rachel Yud, chief curater, who also addressed us at the banquet; and the organizers of this weekend. How fitting that they chose this Shabbat, Parshat Zachor. We must never forget and we must never let the world forget. This museum will especially help young people remember.
“The Holocaust is like a great open pit. The closer you are, the harder it is to grasp its depth… From a distance one actually sees it in all its horror.” — Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau
“The affirmation of Jewish life after the Holocaust is itself testimony that the covenant survives and that the voice of G-d continues to be heard, however obliquely and obscurely by the contemporary heirs of those who stood at Sinai.” — Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
The cornerstone for the new museum was laid in 2018; construction is anticipated to begin in 2020. For more information and how to participate, visit www.ganzach.org.il or call Rachel Yud at 972-3-570-3018.
Source: The Jewish Press
March 13, 2019
March 7, 2019
March 1, 2019
December 18, 2018 1:18 pm
10th of Tevet – In a moving and unique event in the Presidential Residence in Jerusalem, with the participation of the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, the Chief Rabbi of Tel-Aviv/Jaffa, the Gaon Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, shlita, the Vice Minister of Health Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, the Chairman of Yad Vashem, Avner Shalev, the heads of Ginzach Kiddush Hashem and guests from all over the world, marked the laying of the first cornerstone for the permanent building for “Ginzach Kiddush Hashem”, which will be erected in Bnei Brak to perpetuate the memory of the holy martyrs of the Holocaust and of Jewish heroism during the Holocaust.
The President of Israel opened by saying that during the past Hannukah holiday he lit candles together with Holocaust survivors, and the lighting was done on the Hannukah Menorah that was redeemed and remains a memorial to the Jewish community of the village Sompolno in Poland.
“Jews guarded their Jewish identity and in the camps and ghettoes did all that was in their power to light candles of Hannuah from a shoelace and oil from toothpaste while endangering their lives only in order to fulfill the mitzvot of the holiday. We were told how the Jews recited the Brachah of Shehechiyanu with courage and spirit even though that they were in that terrible place, in the valley of death.”
He continued, “When we hear the stories of the courage of those Jews we learn what is real courage and what is faith.” The President praised the people of “Ginzach Kiddush Hashem” who work throughout the years to strengthen the awareness among the youth and to prevent any forgetting or denial of the events that befell the Jewish nation during the Holocaust. ”
The work that you are doing in perpetuating the memory of the Holocaust through films and testimonies and with telling the stories of Jewish heroism during the Holocaust is the victory. We must continue and invest in education, in research of the Holocaust and to carry the torch of memory further from generation to generation. Continuing to light up the dark depths of memory with Jewish heroism is an inseparable part of remembering the Holocaust.”
The Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv/Jaffa, the Gaon Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, shlita, said “There are many millions that lost their lives in the fires of the concentration camps and nothing remains from them however many did survive and despite that they survived their spirit was broken, the tradition from the house of their fathers and grandfathers was taken from them, Faith distanced from them, and they remain like a plain in the desert.
We must remember all of them. We must continue and act and to plant the spirit that was taken from them, to perpetuate their tremendous acts that holy martyrs of the Holocaust did in their fight to guard their Jewish identity and their faith and trust in that most terrible place, the concentration camps and the ghettos.”
Rabbi Lau added that Ginzach Kiddush Hashem perpetuates the subject to youth in the Hareidi sector and works to perpetuate the memories that we are forbidden to forget, the memory of the Holocaust and the memory of the holy martyrs of the Holocaust that fought guarding Judaism with their lives.”
The Vice Minister of Health, Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, said that today there are new generations in the world that do not know of the Holocaust and tend to forget what happened to the Jewish nation therefore the so important activities on perpetuating the memory of the fight about the Jewish identity in the camps is important and necessary for the coming generations.
“We are marking the permanent building that Ginzach Kiddush Hashem is erecting which will show how the synagogues looked during the time of the Holocaust and are no longer, seeing the Halachic rulings during the Holocaust, Responsa with rabbis in the concentration camps and many other Jewish topics to remember all that they did to guard over Torah and Mitzvot even during those difficult days. Therefore it is important and necessary that there should be a permanent place for the “Ginzach” and we bless them for this.”
The Chairman of “Yad Vashem”, Avner Shalev, said that Yad Vashem and Ginzach Kiddush Hashem work together in order to perpetuate the memory of the Holocaust. “I remember the founder of the Ginzach” Rabbi Moshe Prager, in the first days when they wanted to present the worldly outlook of Torah and spirituality of the survivors of the Holocaust from the religious and Haredi sectors and those who keep the mitzvot and how much he wrote on the topic.
There is significant importance to presenting the worldly outlook and the approach of Klal Yisrael, therefore founding a permanent building for this is so important and proper to the continuation of the great work of “Ginzach Kiddush Hashem” and we will continue to act together for this lofty and important goal of remembering the Holocaust and the martyrs.”
Rabbi David Skolsky, Chairman of Ginzach Kiddush Hashem presented to the President, Mr. Reuven Rivlin, at the end of the ceremony the ‘Scroll of the Holocaust’ that was written by the founder of the Ginzach, Rabbi Moshe Prager, and said that this is a historical day in that we are marking the foundation of the permanent building that will work towards this important work for our generation and for generations to come.
At the end of the ceremony the General Manager of Ginzach Kiddush Hashem, Rabbi Tzvi Skolsky said that this is the beginning of a series of events that will take place throughout the world in order to mark the erection of a permanent building for the Ginzach.
“We will work in order that always the nation of Israel and the holy martyrs will be remembered and that though they were in concentration camps of destruction and ghettos, and in great danger to their lives they did all that was in their power and spirit in order to guard Torah and Mitzvot and we will perpetuate this also for the coming generations.”
Source: The Yeshiva World