School commemorates Yom HaShoah with assembly, candle lighting and exhibition


Davis Marks/Chronicle

Reverend Anne Gardner leads students and faculty in a candle lighting ceremony in honor of Yom HaShoah.

Davis Marks

The school commemorated Yom HaShoah, Israel’s Holocaust remembrance day, with an all-school assembly featuring a Holocaust survivor, candle lighting ceremony and exhibition on the Quad from April 26 to April 28.

During Community Flex Time on April 26, students, faculty and staff heard from Holocaust survivor Yona Nadelman, who discussed her story. Nadelman was five years old when Nazi Germany invaded her native town in Poland, and soon after, fled eastward with her parents. After her parents were captured, she lived on a farm under a false identity for the rest of the war before being reunited with her parents.

Jewish Club Leader Charlotte Newman ’24 said she enjoyed listening to Nadelman and felt her message of spreading kindness was impactful.

“I loved getting the chance to hear the Holocaust survivor speak,” Newman said. “I think her message of peace and kindness was really powerful, especially because even though she experienced so many hardships growing up during the Holocaust, she experienced so many acts of kindness from various people.”

During a memorial hosted outside of Rugby Auditorium on April 28, Reverend Anne Gardner listed the names of Holocaust victims with connections to current community members as students, faculty and staff lit candles in their honor.

Gardner said she wanted to include the names of Holocaust victims with connections to community members in an effort to make the remembrance more personal and impactful.

“In an effort to personalize [Yom HaShoah] observances, I had previously asked students, faculty and staff to submit the names of family and friends who died in the Holocaust,” Gardner said. “This request resulted in 42 submissions. Being able to draw a direct line between our current community and the events of the [Holocaust] I believe gave these observances a certain gravitas and poignancy beyond mere symbolism.”

Signs were displayed on the Quad to educate students about various aspects of the Holocaust, such as the Auschwitz concentration camp, and the importance of Yom HaShoah, throughout the week.

Gardner said the signs and education throughout the week were intended to give students an understanding of the suffering caused by the Holocaust and prevent something similar from happening in the future.

“The continued need for unbiased and factual education regarding the Holocaust is vital to both acknowledging the suffering endured by those in targeted communities (including 6 million Jews) and helping to [prevent] similar acts from occurring in the future,” Gardner said.

Dani Lynch ’23 said she felt the various ways of remembering the Holocaust were effective as it gave students and faculty the opportunity to learn more and better understand the pain it continues to cause Jews across the world.

“I feel the events commemorating Yom HaShoah allowed the community a chance to gain understanding into the collective grief and tragic loss as a result of the Holocaust,” Lynch said. “The survivor assembly, candle lighting ceremony and quad exhibit provided the opportunity to deeply understand the consequences of promoting hate and intolerance and showed how making a minority a scapegoat and ignoring injustice can and will always have tragic results.”