Hillel commemorates Holocaust victims
Hofstra Hillel members gather outside of Hofstra Hall on Holocaust Remembrance Day to honor the victims.
Photo courtesy of Hofstra University.
Hofstra Hillel held a commemorative ceremony outside of Hofstra Hall for Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah, on April 11. Those who walked by the event heard the names of over one million children who were murdered during the Holocaust.
“Honestly, I started to tear up toward the end, not ashamed to admit it. It’s a very, very powerful experience. As you’re reading the names, you can kind of feel the pain these children [went] through. I think about how I’m 21 years old, these kids didn’t get to see that age. It’s very impactful,” said AJ Shears, a senior finance major.
Shears has been coming to the event every year that he has been at Hofstra and this was his second time reading from the list of names. Shears believes that it is important that there are events like these to keep society from forgetting and to ensure that it never happens again. “You need to commemorate it,” Shears said. “If we forget about it and we don’t share the experience, it’s bound to happen again.”
Hadas Hayun, a junior public relations major, came to read from the list of names in commemoration of her family members that perished in the Holocaust. After reading, Hayun said, “It’s still very hard to see the names. You can see entire families that were murdered, but it’s very important to remember.”
Papers were additionally handed out that had the estimated number of Jewish people killed in each country that Germany invaded between 1933 and 1945.
Hannah Rembrandt, a graduate student studying speech pathology, said, “This is something that affects the Jewish community every day. I think it’s important for people to understand exactly what the effect of the Holocaust was. Most people think this is something that happened and it’s done, but it’s something that still [affects us] today.”
The event also highlighted the anti-Semitism that still exists in the world. There has been a resurgence in the states after the election of President Donald Trump. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), anti-Semitic hate crimes jumped 57 percent from 2016 to 2017. Anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York rose 40 percent and one- third of the hate crimes reported took place on Long Island.
The event was a way for students to learn more about the Holocaust and its effects on the world. “Hofstra Hillel’s mission is to enrich our students so they can enrich the world, and one of the ways we do that is through education,” said Rabbi Dave Siegel, the executive director of Hofstra Hillel. “I’m proud to say that when it comes to ensuring that there is no place for hate, our communities come together and work together to do the best we can to make Hofstra someplace to be proud of.”