Yom HaShoah services across Bay to rekindle songs of hope, courage

Jewish composers who were forced into ghettos and concentration camps during the Nazi occupation continued to create new music and rework popular old Yiddish songs.

“It was an interesting phenomenon of people writing new variants of songs that had existed before the Holocaust,” explains vocalist and Yiddish music teacher Adrienne Cooper. “People loved the songs, but the words no longer reflected their experiences.”

Cooper, along with Cantors Linda Hirschhorn, Ilene Keys and Richard Kaplan and the choirs of Temple

Sinai, Oakland Hebrew Day School and Tehiyah Day School, will perform these songs and others during two local Yom HaShoah commemorations next week focusing on Jewish folk songs of World War II.

Adrienne Cooper

Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Re-memberance Day, is April 11.

One love song, which originally included a line about a boyfriend knocking at his girlfriend’s door, was changed so the man knocks at his lover’s door so they can run and hide together.

While many of the songs represented the horrors of daily life, some inspired hope. “Let Re-demption Come,” written by a poet who survived the camps, includes the refrain “Even when it’s heavy on your heart, you have to make a l’chaim.”

“The Transformative Power of Music During the Shoah” will take place at 4 p.m. April 11 at Temple Isaiah, 3800 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette and at 8 p.m. April 13 at Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland.

For details on these events, call (510) 318-6453 or e-mail [email protected]

Holocaust survivor  Henry Libicki lights candles at the Friedman Center in Santa Rosa as Ayla Uffenheimer looks on. photo/owen scott shirwo

• A communitywide Yom HaShoah event in San Francisco also will include music composed by Jews during World War II.

“They Left a Light” takes place at 3 p.m. April 11 at Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake St., San Francisco. The multimedia event will include classical musicians playing the cabaret works of composers from the Thereisenstadt concentration camp, including Gideon Klein, Hans Krása and Victor Ullmann.

The event also will include a performance of Olivier Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time,” which was first played in a German POW camp in 1941. For information, call (415) 957-1551.

Many Yom HaShoah events are taking place next week across the Bay. Events are free unless otherwise noted:

• Paintings by Holocaust survivors and music composed in the ghettos will be part of “Music, Art and Hope” beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 4 at the Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. Ten local survivors created the artwork; several will speak during the reception. The exhibit is free; the concert is $10 to $15. For details, visit www.paloaltojcc.org/arts.

• Photographer Norman Gershman’s book “Besa” tells of Albanian and Kosovar Muslims who risked their lives to shelter Jews from Nazis. Gershman will discuss his work during a Yom HaShoah Shabbat dinner at 6:30 p.m. April 9 at the JCCSF, 3200 California St., S.F. Cost is $30 to $35. For tickets, call (415) 292-1233.

• Congregation Beth Sholom hosts an interfaith Holocaust memorial service with guest speaker Brad Wagenknecht, Napa County supervisor, at 7:30 p.m. April 9. Beth Sholom is located at 1455 Elm St., Napa. For details, call (707) 253-7305.

• Sonoma County’s annual Yom HaShoah commemoration “Liberation: Telling the Stories” will take place at 2 p.m. April 11 at the Friedman Center, 4676 Mayette Ave., Santa Rosa. For information, call (415) 472-5128.

• In commemoration of Yom HaShoah, the Bridge Players quartet will play “Tales From Terezin” at 2 p.m. April 11 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., S.F. “Tales From Terezin” tells the true story of four Jewish composers who wrote pieces while interned at Thereisenstadt concentration camp in Terezin, only to later perish at Auschwitz. The Bridge Players includes the string chamber musicians Victoria Ehrlich, Leslie Ludena, Natalia Vershilova and Randall Weiss. The event and museum admission are free in honor of Yom HaShoah. For details, visit www.thecjm.org.

• “Remembrance of the Holocaust and Acts of Courage” will take place at 4 p.m. April 11 at Congregation Rodef Sholom, 170 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. The event will include music, prayer and stories of the Holocaust. For details, call (415) 479-3441.

• “Emergence From the Ashes,” the communitywide service on the South Peninsula, will include first-person testimonies, a program of poetry and music, and participation by local students. It will be held at 5 p.m. April 11 at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills. For information, call (650) 847-1715.

• Congregation Beth Emek’s Yom HaShoah commemoration is at 7 p.m. April 11 at the synagogue, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton. For details, call (925) 931-1055.

• Temple Israel will recognize Yom HaShoah with a communitywide service at 7:30 p.m. April 11 at 3183 Mecartney Road, Alameda. For details, call (510) 522-9355.

• Temple Beth Torah’s Yom HaShoah event “The Kindertransport” at 7:30 p.m. April 11 includes guest speaker Ralph Samuel. Beth Torah is at 42000 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont. For more information, call (510) 656-7141.

• The North Peninsula’s community-

wide Yom HaShoah commemoration “Separation for Survival: Remembering the Kindertransport” takes place at 6:30 p.m. April 12 at Temple Beth El, 1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo. For details, call (650) 341-7701.

• Santa Clara County’s Yom HaShoah remembrance ceremony, “Almost Vanished? The Jewish Culture of Poland,” will be at 4 p.m. April 13 at the Board Chambers, County Government Center, 70 W. Hedding St., San Jose. For details, call (408) 299-5151.

• Greater San Francisco Lodge No. 21 and B’nai B’rith will host their annual Yom HaShoah memorial at 10 a.m. April 18 at the Holocaust Memorial in Lincoln Park, across from the Palace of the Legion of Honor. This year’s event, “Unto Every Person There Is a Name,” will include poems and psalms along with Holocaust survivors lighting memorial candles. For details, call (415) 752-9304.