Over the last two months, Staten Island has bustled with activity and participation in local community offerings focused on furthering Holocaust Education and shining a light on antisemitism across the Island and New York.
A number of events remain a source of insight and information including the Commemorating Kristillnacht gathering presented by the Staten Island Holocaust Center and held at the JCC of Staten Island.
The community wide event was in partnership between several people and institutions including the Amud Aish Memorial Museum of Brooklyn, Ganzach Kiddush Hashem of Bnei Brak in Israel, Hillel of Staten Island, Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon, and Staten Island Borough President, Vito Fossella. The event featured an exhibition and brief film presentation on the history and victim experience of the Holocaust with a special focus on the values and perspectives of faith-based communities. The exhibition also included Holocaust artifacts, art work by Ayala Borten, Emil Jacoby and artifacts from the Staten Island Jewish Historical Society, in addition to a Holocaust Education video by Dr. Luke Berryman of The Ninth Candle.
The evening was also highlighted by United States Representative from New York, Nicole Malliotakis, who shared her sentiments on Commemorating Kristillnacht.
“We wanted to feature an exhibition and film presentation presenting the history and victim experience of the Holocaust, with a special focus on the values and perspectives of faith-based communities,” said Rachel Borenstein, SIHC President.
“Our event is tailored to captivate and inspire a diverse audience, creating a meaningful experience for individuals of all ages.”
Along with SIHC’s Commemorating Kristillnacht event, Staten Island high school students toured the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan in November with 200 local teens urged to fight hate and learn valuable life lessons from those who witnessed the horrors and impact of the Holocaust. The outing and experience was part of attending the 8th Annual Egon J. Salmon and Family Commemoration of Kristallnacht and the St. Louis. Wagner College followed up the event on the eve of Kristallnacht, by hosting an interfaith Holocaust remembrance event titled “Leo’s Survival: Acts of Extraordinary Heroes of All Faiths” that featured Leo S. Ullman, a survivor.
Knowing hate crime reports have soared within the last few months (with a reported 214% spike in antisemitic offenses according to the NYPD), programs and events like these are right on time. Not only do they raise public awareness and help further Holocaust Education locally, but these types of events and programs provide the opportunity and space for people to learn and grow together through the historic hardships.