The Shoah (Holocaust) Committee of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa has an important mission to preserve the memories and legacies of the past so we may educate future generations about one of the worst genocides in modern history.
November is Holocaust Education Month (HEM) and the Centre for Holocaust Education and Scholarship (CHES) has taken on the responsibility to ensure that quality educational opportunities are available in the greater Ottawa community. CHES, along with other Jewish community organizations, will be hosting events during the month, including workshops directed at educators, students, and second generation. In partnership with Kehillat Beth Israel, CHES will be hosting an evening to commemorate Kristallnacht on Wednesday, November 9, 7 pm, featuring historian Michael R. Marrus.
In recognition of HEM, Federation’s Shoah Committee has organized three events.
On Monday, November 14, 7 pm, at the Soloway Jewish Community Centre (SJCC), Canadian award-winning journalist Aili McConnon, who is now based in New York, will speak about her book Road to Valour. The 2012 bestseller tells the inspiring story of the legendary cyclist and Righteous Among the Nations humanitarian Gino Bartali, who made the greatest comeback in Tour De France history.
During the Second World War, Bartali undertook dangerous activities, including sheltering a family of Jews, and smuggling counterfeit identity documents in the frame of his bicycle.
McConnon will talk about the process of writing the book, and uncovering this piece of history. The following day, she will share this inspiring story with public high school students.
In partnership with the March of the Living, the Shoah Committee will host a screening of the documentary “Blind Love” and discussion on Wednesday, November 23, 7 pm, at the SJCC.
“Blind Love” is the story of six blind Israelis and their guide dogs who took part in the March of the Living. Eli Rubenstein, national director of March of the Living and producer of the film, and editor of the book, Witness: Passing the Torch of Holocaust Memory to New Generations, will lead a discussion. March of the Living alumni will share their experiences and their knowledge of what it means to take responsibility as the next generation of Holocaust witnesses.
Our final event explores a truly remarkable story of courage and determination to do the “right thing.” The film “Disobedience” tells the story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese consul stationed in Bordeaux, France, who, during the Second World War, granted 30,000 visas to refugees, including 10,000 Jews, against the strict orders of his government. The award-winning docudrama, filmed in French with English subtitles, will be screened in partnership with the Sousa Mendes Foundation. This will be followed by a Q & A with Mendes’ grandson, Louis-Philippe Mendes, who now lives in Montreal. The screening will be held in the Chamber Theatre at Ben Franklin Place (Centrepointe), Sunday, November 27 at 3 pm. Seating is limited, so please RSVP to ensure a spot.
All Federation HEM events are free of charge, but an RSVP to Elana Moscoe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-798-4696, ext. 355, is greatly appreciated.
Visit www.jewishottawa.com for a full listing of all the events being held during Holocaust Education Month. I hope everyone will attend some of these programs. Remembering the Holocaust and teaching others is a shared responsibility and your support is truly appreciated.