CESJDS honors Yom HaShoah with meaningful assembly about resistance during the Holocaust


Ella Waldman

Along with the assembly, the school also participated in a vigil where students and teachers read the names of those who lost their lives in the holocaust.

Stella Muzin, Reporter

Yom Hazikaron laShoah ve-laG’vurah, or Yom Hashoah, is an annual Holocaust Remembrance day observed throughout the world. As a Jewish day school, CESJDS takes their responsibility to educate students about the Holocaust extremely seriously and therefore worked hard to make it a meaningful day for all the students and faculty. This year, the central theme of the assembly was Jewish resistance against the Nazis through the arts. 

The assembly started off with a candle lighting ceremony led by the sophomores. Each candle was dedicated to a different person and the concentration camp or ghetto they resided in during the Holocaust. Students also sang meaningful songs written by Jews living through those tragic times.

The main aspect of this year’s assembly was watching the documentary “Defiant Requiem,” where students heard the story of the Theresienstadt Ghetto and the artistic escape Jews participated in.

“This year, we watched the documentary “Defiant Requiem,” a documentary about the resistance through music in a concentration camp, so I think it is really interesting and it’s not only about Holocaust survivors, its also about people who served in the resistance,” sophomore Yael Rosenberg said.

In the documentary, Holocaust survivors who were in this ghetto talked about how singing songs with their community and being a part of Verdi’s Requiem was the thing that kept them going every day. They said they don’t believe their life would have been complete without this experience.

“I thought this year’s Tekes was very meaningful because we learned more about life within the concentration camps, which isn’t something that we talk about a lot,” Freshman Jonah Boles said.

It is tradition for a group of the sophomore class to plan the Yom Hashoah assembly. This year, the heads of this group were sophomores Serena Gill and Yael Rosenberg.

“I wanted to take on one of the leading roles mostly because I’d always seen how the assembly was done in the past like I even remember the assemblies before Covid and I remember how impactful they were,” Rosenberg said. “I think it’s the only time that I’ve seen everyone in an assembly listening and paying attention. It’s a really nice tradition that I wanted to be a part of.”

Along with students, Evonne and Elliot Schnitzer Family Jewish History Department Chair Aaron Bregman, as well as other staff from the department, had a large role in planning this impactful day.

“We have received many emails and compliments in the hallway about the film “Defiant Requiem,” Bregman said. “We feel that the Tekes, which led into the film, set a critical tone for the day, which led to the other important educational components that students [could] experience for the remainder of the school day.”

This year’s ceremony was dedicated by the Bassin family in honor of their grandfather Morley Potash, a child survivor of the Holocaust who then proceeded to move to Toronto, Canada and raise his family with strong Jewish values and beliefs. May his memory be a blessing.