Dec 202017
 

Thank you, everyone, for attending our 2017 conference in the DAN Jerusalem hotel. With an attendance of many hundreds, we are proud to call this conference a great success.

In total, we welcomed around 370 participants:

  • 125 Survivors
  • 150 Second generation
  • 35 Third Generation
  • 20 Kinder transport
  • 40 spouses and non specified participants

Of the 370 participants, approximately 125 of them were Israeli’s, most of them 2nd generation.

Some of the highlights of the conference:

  • Prof. Yehuda Bauer, who reflected on the lessons to be learned from the holocaust, as well as the topic of how the holocaust will be remembered in the 21st century: How we can educate the world around us? (Unfortunately, there is no transcript of this speech available.)
  • Amb. Collette Avital gave a clear look and overview of the positive changes the State of Israel has implemented for the Survivors of the Holocaust in Israel.
  • Exec. Vice president of the Claims Conference Greg Schneider informed the audience about the important role that the Claims Conference is playing in the Survivor Community worldwide.
  • Rabbi Benny Lau reflected on the past and expressed his hope for the future that the Shoah will still be remembered by future generations.
  • Chairman of the Knesset, Yuri Edelstein made an appearance by video in order to greet everyone.
  • The visit to the Knesset, which occurred during the last afternoon, was a worthwhile part of this conference for many of our participants.
  • For others, the pinnacle of the event was to finally have the opportunity to celebrate his/her Bar/Batmitsva at the KOTEL. (This part of the event was covered in detail by the Clevland Jewish News.)

The closing of the conference began with an international 2G panel discussion about how to promote Holocaust Education and Remembrance in our homelands. After which, one of the 2G participants sang the Ghetto Fighters Song.

“This conference has become sort of a family reunion, a bond of friendship and community for people of like and common bonds,” said survivor Fred Ferber of Orchard Lake.

“The conference location in Israel was important, and we agreed with our dad that it was a good idea for my brother and me to become more involved with this organization,” said Jeff Kahan. The family owns a Troy-based company.

“This conference was extra special, being that it was held in Israel,” said Sandra Silver of Southfield. She’s attended five conferences. “I was able to visit family members, some of whom I haven’t seen in 20 years.” The daughter of survivors, Silver belongs to the second generation — referred to as 2Gs. They were 154 strong at the conference, while 3Gs numbered 36. Silver is active with CHAIM, a Metro Detroit-based second-generation organization. Founding President Dr. Charles Silow of Huntington Woods, a psychologist, also directs Jewish Senior Life’s Program for Holocaust Survivors and Families in West Bloomfield. At the conference, Silow led a panel of 2Gs from Israel, Mexico, Sweden and Croatia, and another session on the effects of aging on survivors.

Excerpts copied, with permission, from “Survivors Gathering” by Esther Allweiss Ingber, a 2G and a reporter from Detroit who attended the conference. Click here to see the original article from The Detroit Jewish News. A more detailed write-up from Clevland Jewish News about the Bnai Mitzvah at the Kotel can be found here.
 
Pictures from the Jerusalem Conference are available here: WFJCSHD Jerusalem Conference – Google Photos. If anyone would like to reach out to Melissa Taub (the photographer), her email is mtaub6@gmail.com.

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