Religions and Spirituality

North Salem Observes Yom Hashoah

Larry Kaufman, commander of the Jewish War Veterans Post 46 Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Diedre Winston, a Somers High School sophomore, sings her original song, “Someone else will suffer.” Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Lola Marguillies, Holocaust survivor and Somers Holocaust Commission member, lights six candles, that are representative of the 6 million Jews that were killed by the Nazis. Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Dr. Michael Geisler, president of Manhattanville college and keynote speaker of the ceremony Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Dancers from the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance perform to the theme song from "Schindler's List." Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Alyssa Freedman, second place winner from North Salem High School Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
Julianna Austin, first place winner from North Salem High School Credits: Gabrielle Bilik

NORTH SALEM, N.Y.— The Somers Holocaust Memorial Commission sponsored its annual Yom Hashoah Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at North Salem High School on Thursday, April 26.

According to the United States Holocaust Museum, the internationally recognized date for Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. It marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom Hashoah.

Dedicated to the education of children about the Holocaust and other human rights violations, the commission hosts the annual Fred Bachner student project awards. Students create and submit entries to the commission that are related to the Holocaust or any other genocide. The projects can be created in any media chosen by the students. This year, students submitted original songs, sculptures, paintings and more.

Sign Up for E-News

Fred Bachner, a Holocaust survivor, founded the commission to not only educate children that such violations occur, but to recognize that much of the world looks away.

A short ceremony was held to award six students from Somers High School and North Salem High School for their project submissions.

Somers High School’s winners were Mackenzie Berner, first place; Alix Goldman, second place; and Alexis Ruiz, third place.

North Salem High School’s winners were:  Julianna Austin, first place; Alyssa Freedman, second place; and Christopher Dolce, third place.

“It gives us a sense of comfort and pride to see how these young people understand the importance of tolerance and inclusion, and how horrible things can happen when hatred drives the human spirit,” said Dr. George Bovino, assistant principal of North Salem High School. “We simply cannot tolerate exclusionary or discriminatory behavior on any level. Our wonderful country was founded on the notion of inclusion and freedom, not hatred or prejudice.”

This year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Michael Geisler, president of Manhattanville College, spoke to the identity crisis many Germans struggled with after the events of the Holocaust.

The German native was raised in West Germany during the time when Germany’s “conspiracy of silence” began to break.

He shared his experience with the audience and his thoughts on the evolution of German acceptance and internalization of the Holocaust in a presentation called, “The media and educational portrayal of the Holocaust during my childhood in West Germany.”

He also touched on the danger of the resurgence of anti-Semitic feelings among radicalized groups in Europe and the Middle East. He also discussed a new, right-wing political party that has developed in Germany called, “Alternative für Deutschland” (Alternative for Germany).

According to Geisler, the party began as an anti-Euro movement, but has made headlines for its ideas to build a new German identity that treats the Holocaust as a “brief aberration in an otherwise glorious 2,000 years of German History.”

“It would be a dangerous mistake to dismiss these growing movements as irrelevant fringe phenomenon,” he warned.

Students from the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance performed dances to the theme from John Williams’ “Schindler’s List” and to the Russian State Symphony Capella’s “Fervent Supplication.”

Dierdre Winston, a sophomore at North Salem High School, shared her original song, “Someone Else Will Suffer,” that she wrote for her project.

Larry Kaufman, commander of the Jewish War Veterans Post 46, said a few words and Rabbi Halina Rubinstein of the Hebrew Congregation of Somers led the prayer and candle-lighting ceremony. Lola Marguilies, commission member and Holocaust survivor, assisted in lighting the six candles, which represent the six million Jews that died in the Holocaust.

Speakers stressed the importance of keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive, no matter how grim, as the number of survivors that share their experiences dwindles.

“As this generation passes, the memory of the Holocaust is also passing from the powerful narrative of the personal experience of people like Fred Bachner, to the realm of reported memory, which is easier to denounce or rationalize,” Geisler said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

North Salem

Upcoming Events

Sat, March 24, 10:00 AM

Jefferson Valley Mall , Yorktown Heights

Yorktown Indoor Farmers Market

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

Sat, March 24, 3:30 PM


Easter Egg Hunt at the farm!

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, March 31, 10:00 AM

Jefferson Valley Mall , Yorktown Heights

Yorktown Indoor Farmers Market

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

Winter's Ending

Thank God March is already underway. And with it, pristine snowdrops and teeny fields of crocuses. For the last three weeks, here or there, as I drove through town, I have also spotted some witch hazel blossoming in full golden glory, the earliest tree to flower each year, a herald of the coming spring. Such a relief to the eyes and the senses when the color returns to the ...

Stop Gun Carnage

The 18th mass shooting in the United States in the first 45 days of 2018 took the lives of 17 students and teachers.

What is going on? Why are little kids and devoted educators being murdered by maniacs with guns? Tell me why these brutal attacks appear to be happening primarily in the United States.

Gun attacks against civilians are nonexistent or rare in any country which isn’t ...

It's Good to Cheat!

OK, you know that I am working on losing 10 pounds before summer vacation and every weekend I cheat on my diet. I felt a little guilty about that and invariably yelled at myself every Sunday night. I found out that this is not unusual and may actually help us wannabe skinnies stay on our program in the long run. 

Two trusted authorities told me that it’s actually GOOD to cheat! A ...

To Harrison, L'Chaim!

At long last, the smile of spring approaches, as an angry winter recedes into good riddance. Our spirit is ready to be re-charged. Damn the power outages, full speed ahead!

For my wife, Elyse, daughter, Elissa, and me, this otherwise exuberant time of year brings a confusion of mixed emotions. In 2003, on the opening day of spring, March 20, which happens to be my birthday, our 15-year-old son ...

Anytown USA's Reality TV Show

Nowhere is the raw power of our Constitution’s First Amendment more earnestly practiced than in thousands of town halls across the land every time a citizen steps up to the podium to say his piece.

That also is where reality television can be seen at its rawest, as town meetings are televised to the local populace. All the familiar production values of reality TV are there in full color: ...

When It's Not OK to Ask If Everything's OK

There is this thing that I do that annoys the heck out of my family. Well, to be honest, there are a lot of things I do that annoy the heck out of my family, but I am thinking of one thing in particular.

Whenever someone is in the bathroom for what I determine to be an abnormally long period of time, I stand outside the bathroom door and yell,


I ...

I'm All Pumped Up

This time last year, I struggled with my New Year’s resolution to go to the gym.

This year, I have made significant progress. I am going to the gym on a semi-regular basis. And by semi-regular, I mean, I go often enough that I actually remember where it’s located between visits.

The bad news, however, is that my workouts are just, how would you say it? Lame. Yes, they’re ...

'Gun Laws Need to Be Changed'

March 14, 2018

To the editor,

In response to last week’s article on North Salem schools’ reaction to the Parkland tragedy, we respectfully disagree with the school’s official statement that North Salem’s students are not interested in standing up for change in gun control laws. To be clear, many of us are standing up for our belief that gun control laws need to be changed. We are ...

Winter Weather Cuts Through North Salem

March 12, 2018

NORTH SALEM, N.Y.-Operating under a state of emergency, the town opened up a warming center at the North Salem Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Saturday, March 3, welcoming in from the cold those who lost electricity.

Supervisor Warren Lucas voiced his frustration over the power outages several times over the weekend, unable to provide residents with adequate information.

On Saturday, Lucas drove ...