Yom Hashoah in Calgary featured a moving performance using a violin recovered from the Holocaust

Pianist Helena Barker at the Yom Hashoah commemoration in Calgary. Photo Calgary Jewish Federation facebook.

(Calgary) – This year, Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, was commemorated around the world on May 5 and 6 – a solemn day to remember the six million Jewish lives taken in the Holocaust. The number of Jews alive today is still lower than it was in 1939.

On May 5, members of the Calgary Jewish Community, along with friends and allies, gathered at Paperny Family Calgary JCC, where they heard from leaders in the community and paid respects by placing white rocks on the Holocaust memorial. Afterwards, they proceeded to Calgary Beth Tzedec Congregation to witness the honouring of survivors and their families.

The evening’s theme was “Heartstrings: Music of the Holocaust” – the sanctuary was filled with beautiful and incredibly powerful music, performed using a violin from the Holocaust.

In a Facebook post the Calgary Jewish Federation stated, “Thank you to Holocaust and Human Rights: Remembrance and Education Co-Chairs Marnie Bondar and Dahlia Libin for organizing such a moving event, and heartfelt gratitude goes to all of the performers who helped us connect with the evening’s music. We are deeply appreciative of Studio Bell, Home of the National Music Centre | Centre National de Musique, for demonstrating true allyship. As we reflect, may the memory of all those who perished in the Holocaust be a blessing, and may our survivors find strength in knowing that their resilience uplifts us all.

“We express our deepest appreciation to violinist Steven Klevsky, pianist Helena Barker, and tenor Arieh Sacke for their poignantly powerful and beautifully heartfelt performances at this year’s Yom HaShoah commemoration. The violin that Steven played belonged to a survivor of the Holocaust. It has been restored and is part of the Violins of Hope collection on display now at Studio Bell.”

Please go to https://www.jewishcalgary.org/violins-of-hope to find more information about the Violins of Hope exhibition as well as concerts at the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and Studio Bell, and film screening at Central Calgary Public Library. We hope you will discover Violins of Hope while it is in Calgary and learn more about the stories of the instruments saved from the Holocaust.

Upcoming events

Come together with the Paperny Family JCC and Temple B’nai Tikvah for YOM HAZIKARON – Israel’s Memorial Day on Sunday, May 12 at 7pm.

As a community we will gather at Temple B’nai Tikvah to commemorate and memorialize IDF soldiers who have perished in the line of duty, and victims of terror. Join us for a heartfelt ceremony along with prayers, readings, and music – with a special time of recognition for the victims of the October 7 attacks.

Then on Tuesday, May 14 the community will celebrate YOM HAATZMAUT – Israel’s Independence Day at the Paperny Family JCC! Join us as we kick-off Israel’s 76th birthday at 5:30pm with music, food, and fun activities for all ages! Israeli themed food will be available for purchase from Karen’s Cafe and Catering.

These programs are powered by Calgary Jewish Federation and proudly supported by the Israel Engagement Fund: A Jewish Community Centers of North America (JCCs) Program Accelerator and the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs.

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