Listing of Holocaust Remembrance Day events around the Bay Area

Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, begins the evening of April 27, and many Jewish groups around the Bay Area will be honoring the victims of the Holocaust, and its survivors, by holding memorials and observances.

In the South Peninsula area, more than a dozen Jewish co-sponsoring agencies and communities are coming together for an event that will have an emphasis on personal stories from six survivors. The event will begin at 5 p.m. in the sanctuary of Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills.

Yom HaShoah remembrance event in 2013 at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills photo/robert r. zimmerman

The South Peninsula’s Yom HaShoah V’Hagevurah (Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day) has been held annually since 1975, according to Oscar Rosenbloom, a planning committee member for the past few years.

Rosenbloom said the six survivors will be honored with an introduction and biography read by local high school students, who each interviewed one of the survivors.

“The point that distinguishes our program is the integration of high school students,” Rosenbloom said. “It’s an intergenerational program.”

The service of remembrance is co-sponsored by a wide spectrum of Jewish entities, including area synagogues, Jewish day schools and the S.F.-based Jewish Community Relations Council.

Rosenbloom said the ceremony’s goal is to bring the local community together to never forget the Holocaust and its impact.

“It’s a very established observance that holds a lot of history and a lot of meaning,” he said. “It means a lot, as the number of survivors well enough to participate is diminishing.”

The observance will also include intergenerational songs, readings of children’s writings, prayer and commemorative artwork. In addition, Andy David, the S.F.-based consul general of Israel, will deliver a message.

The 90-minute event is free and will take place at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills. For more information, contact Mickey Forman at (650) 847-1715 or [email protected]

Here is a listing of more events:


Sunday, April 27

Congregation Kol Shofar in Tiburon is creating and housing a new Holocaust memorial for Marin, which will be dedicated on April 27. The memorial will be a “visibly buried” Torah, rescued from the Holocaust, that Kol Shofar is retiring from use after 40 years. Also in the buried glass box will be the names of people who perished in the Shoah. County residents who would like to have family members’ names included should immediately contact Sharon Brusman at [email protected] or call (415) 388-1818 ext. 106. The dedication ceremony will be held in conjunction with a countywide Yom HaShoah observance at which survivors will tell personal stories from survivors and names from a memorial scroll will be recited. Attendees can also view photos of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz’s embroidery panels that retell her childhood memories of prewar Poland; her daughter will speak. At Kol Shofar, 215 Blackfield Dr., Tiburon. 4-5:30 p.m. Free. or (415) 388-1818 ext. 103.

An artist’s rendering of the Marin Holocaust Memorial that will be dedicated April 27 at Congregation Kol Shofar photo/courtesy esther rosha-stadtler

In San Francisco, the JCCSF is hosting a half-day event titled “Remember and Retell: Our Sacred Responsibility.” The event begins at 1:30 p.m. with personal stories from survivors, which will include Q&A opportunities. Noted historian, author and professor Deborah Lipstadt will take part in a 3 p.m. panel discussion, “The Place of the Holocaust in Jewish Memory, Identity and Education,” and she will be the keynote speaker in the commemoration program at 5 p.m. There will also be a reading of the names. Held in conjunction with the S.F.-based Jewish Family and Children’s Service’s Holocaust Center, Lehrhaus Judaica and the Jewish Community Relations Council. At JCCSF, 3200 California St., S.F. 1:30 to 6 p.m. Free, but pre-registration is encouraged. or (415) 449-3717.

The JCC of the East Bay will host “Yes, We Sang!” a musical Yom HaShoah commemoration with the Jewish Folk Chorus of San Francisco, Kol Truah Jewish Choir of the East Bay and Nigunim Community Folk Chorus. There will be songs in Yiddish, Ladino and Hebrew, telling the stories of communities that disappeared during the Holocaust. At JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. 4 p.m. $10, free for children and seniors. or (510) 528-8872.

The JCC of Sonoma County is holding “Regeneration: Lessons from the Holocaust.” It will focus on the importance of young people sharing and passing down the stories of the Holocaust to future generations. The event will include a candlelighting in which survivors are escorted by a teen, and the reading of essays from a student essay contest. At Congregation Beth Ami’s Friedman Center, 4676 Mayette Ave., Santa Rosa. 2 p.m. Free. or (415) 492-2127.

Congregation Beth Emek in Pleasanton is focusing its remembrance on Kristallnacht, which marked its 75th anniversary in November. A number of survivors, including Ruth Gasten, and children of survivors will speak. At Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton. 6 p.m. Free. or (925) 931-1055.

A Yom HaShoah observance for Contra Costa County is scheduled for Temple Isaiah in Lafayette. It will feature excerpts performed from the opera “Another Sunrise,” based on the life a Polish resistance fighter. At Temple Isaiah, 945 Risa Road, Lafayette. 4:30 p.m. Free. or (510) 318-6453.

The city of Berkeley is holding its 12th annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, “Confronting the Holocaust: American Responses.” Honoring survivors living in the East Bay, and featuring musicians and speakers, it will take place at the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley. 12 p.m. Free. or (510) 558-7800 ext. 702.

As part of its commemoration, Congregation Beth Shalom of Napa Valley will have a guest speaker, Leon Rajninger, the author of “Black Days and Nights: The story of my childhood as a Holocaust survivor.” Held in conjunction with Napa Interfaith Clergy Group and other groups. At Napa Valley Lutheran Church, 1796 Elm St., Napa. 4 p.m. Free. or (707) 253-7305.

The Golden Pacific Region of B’nai B’rith will hold its annual commemoration, “Unto Every Person There Is a Name,” at the Holocaust Memorial Monument at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be a lighting of candles by Holocaust survivors at noon; during the reading of the names, attendees are invited to read the names of loved ones. At the Holocaust Memorial Monument, Lincoln Park, 100 34th Ave., S.F. Free. (415) 752-9304.

The North Peninsula will observe Yom HaShoah with a service titled “Kristallnacht — Through a Child’s Eyes.” Anne Marie Yellin, who experienced Kristallnacht at age 8, will speak. Reading of the names will begin at 6 p.m., with a service of remembrance starting at 6:30 p.m. At Peninsula Temple Beth El, 1700 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo. Free. or (650) 847-1715.


Tuesday, April 29

Temple Sinai in Oakland is holding “Voice of the Nations” in conjunction with Jewish Family and Children’s Services of the East Bay and the Jewish Federation of the East Bay. A dinner for survivors and their families will begin at 6 p.m., followed by a community service from 7:30 to 9 p.m. At Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland. 7:30 p.m. Free. or (510) 451-3263.

Santa Clara County is holding “Confronting the Holocaust: American Responses” from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Speakers will include Eva Maiden, author of “Decisions in the Dark: A Refugee Girl’s Journey” and Tom Jacobson, one of the youngest survivors on the ill-fated SS St. Louis and a civil rights attorney. In the supervisors’ chambers, County Government Building, 70 W. Hedding St., San Jose. Free and open to public, with free parking. or (408) 357-7504.


Wednesday, April 30

The 2013 documentary “Rotem” will be screened at the JCC of San Francisco in conjunction with Holocaust Memorial Day. The 77-minute film, in Polish with English subtitles, premiered in last year at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews to honor the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In it, Simha Ratajzer-Rotem shares his vibrant life story, including when he was a head courier in the Jewish anti-Nazi resistance movement during the Holocaust. At the JCCSF, 3200 California St., S.F. Free, but advance registration required. or (415) 292-1233.