BY LEAH LEVY / AJT //
Anne Frank was the focus of Greenfield Hebrew Academy’s special Yom HaShoah memorial service. GHA fifth graders appreciated a performance written and coordinated by the Middle School Hebrew Language staff, including Yaira Auz, Meital Alaluf and Anat Azoulay.
Students remembered the 6 million martyrs of the Holocaust with songs and poems in Hebrew and English and read excerpts from Frank’s diary in both languages. Rabbi Israel Robinson recited a special Yizkor prayer for the victims, and the children also performed interpretive movement with ribbons, ultimately replacing a yellow-and-black Jewish star with a blue-and-white one.
At the close of the memorial service, GHA Principal Leah Summers shared her memories of last year’s Yom HaShoah, which she spent in Israel.
“The sirens went off, and everyone was still – traffic everywhere just stopped, on every street and every freeway,” Summers said. “We all stood completely still and listened. All we heard were the sirens…and one baby crying. The sirens cried out for the dead, and the baby cried out for the living.
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“I thought, ‘we have come full circle.’ So many perished in the Holocaust, but now, in the State of Israel, we have life and the freedom to remember the ones we lost.”
Natan Friedman, a fifth grader, was thoughtful after the program.
“I knew a lot about Anne Frank already,” he said, “because my father and I visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. It was so small, I remember, and the staircase was so narrow – I couldn’t believe so many people hid there for so long.
“But she was smiling in all her pictures, and when I read her diary, I thought she sounded like a really happy person. She must have been very strong.”
Natan paused, then added, “I’m really grateful that I don’t have to live her life.”