Today marks Yom HaShoah, the worldwide day of Holocaust remembrance. From Los Angeles to Jerusalem, students are gathering at Hillels to hold name readings, host survivors and lead discussions to remember the millions of lives lost during the Holocaust.
Yesterday, Hillel at the University of Vermont placed 5,000 flags in the middle of campus, a scaled-down representation of the population who perished, with notes correlating that population to their own.
College students are learning about the Holocaust and its legacy through other Hillel programming as well.
The University of Arizona Hillel Foundation held its 25th annual Holocaust vigil a little over a month ago, including a large display in the middle of campus with exhibits about the political climate in 1930s Europe and daily existence in concentration camps. A University of Arizona student reads archival news coverage from the 1930s chronicling the rise of Nazi Germany.
In April, Hofstra Hillel held “From the Ashes: The Rebirth of Polish Jewry,” a conference framed around post-Holocaust Poland and Jewish life today, strengthened by the recent launch of Hillel Warsaw.
Drexel Hillel hosted Deborah Lipstadt, famed Holocaust historian, for a discussion of contemporary forms of anti-Semitism.
“We must learn about the anti-Semitism of the Holocaust by learning about the past, adapting for the present and shifting for the future,” said Rabbi Isabel de Koninck, Drexel Hillel executive director.
Hillels across the globe help students engage with the complex Jewish past to shape the Jewish future. This Yom HaShoah, we hope you'll join them while you reflect on the Jewish past, as well.