American Society for Yad Vashem Holds 30th Anniversary Commemoration
The annual gathering of the American Society of Yad Vashem is an experience in remembrance and continuity. On the thirtieth anniversary of its founding, survivors were joined by the generations that are their inheritors of Jewish continuity.
The theme of the 2011 dinner was “Preserving the Past – Guarding the Future: 30 Years of Achievement.” The contributions of 30 “Pioneers” and 30 “Visionaries” were recognized at this year’s event as supporters of Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Memorial gathered in New York City to listen to the words of fellow survivor, Israel’s former Chief Rabbi, Israel Meir Lau. Approximately one thousand attended, including members of the diplomatic corps, dignitaries and heads of major Jewish organizations, showing their support of the Yad Vashem Memorial.
The annual event has a solemn theme, but is certainly not a somber gathering. The strong and emotionally charged words of Rabbi Lau, now (for a second term) Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv enlivened the spirits of his listeners. Rabbi Lau, Chairman of the Council of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, is a survivor of the Shoah. He was the youngest child liberated from Buchenwald concentration camp. His autobiography, Out of the Depths (Original Hebrew title “Do Not Raise Your Hand Against the Boy,“) has recently been translated into English.
The release of the biography of Eli Zborowski, founder of the American Society for Yad Vashem was noted at the event. Under his leadership, more than $100 million has been raised to support the Holocaust Memorial. Zborowski is a strong supporter of Holocaust education. His biography, written by Rochel Berman and George Berman, is titled Life of Leadership-Eli Zborowski: From the Underground to Industry to Holocaust Remembrance.
Yad Vashem “the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust… safeguarding the memory of the past and imparting its meaning to future generations” has, for almost sixty years, been the focus for “documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust.” The Memorial has been visited by heads of state from throughout the world.