by Aryeh Klein (’14)

On Monday morning, the MTA student body gathered in Lamport Auditorium to commemorate the Holocaust at a special program for Yom HaShoah. The students were first addressed by Yoni Kram (’13), a member of the Names, Not Numbers program, who spoke about the wartime experiences of his grandfather, Leo Isaac Kram, A”H, and how all his grandfather wanted after the war was a pair of tefillin. Following his speech, two clips from the Names, Not Numbers program were shown. Names, Not Numbers is an MTA program in which our students interview survivors of the Holocaust, learn how to film and edit the interviews, and produce a documentary film. The completed film is then archived in both YU and in Yad Vashem- Israel’s Holocaust museum, as these videos are preserving the direct link to the Holocaust that we have today.

Following these clips, Akiva Schiff (’13) addressed the student body, describing the importance of remembering the Holocaust. Rabbi Green continued the program by explaining to the students that we are the last generation that has a living connection to the Holocaust; the job of remembering the tragic event is moving away from the survivors’ and their children’s generations and towards the next generation – ours. He also spoke of the fact that the survivors went through such trouble to do Mitzvos in the concentration camps; we, who can very easily do the Mitzvos, should be able to take inspiration from their determination and strive to improve ourselves. After a powerful clip of the remarks shared by Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau with President Barack Obama during his recent visit to Jerusalem, the program ended with closing words from Rabbi Taubes who stressed that in light of the fact that so many people in contemporary society either deny or minimize the magnitude of the Holocaust, our responsibility to remember is even greater.

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