The Virginia Holocaust Museum commemorated Yom HaShoah on Sunday, May 1.
In opening remarks, Executive Director Samuel Asher said, “In today’s atmosphere of political, cultural, ideological and racial divisions, here in America, the mission of the Virginia Holocaust Museum has never been more relevant and vital to our society. The Museum preserves and document the history of the Holocaust. It employs the history of the Holocaust and other genocides to inspire future generations of Virginians to fight prejudice and indifference.
He continued, “ The pledge of never again is made by all of us. We pledge to remember the Holocaust and pledge to continue Holocaust education, through our Teacher Education Institute, small group tours and our contact with our many visitors and student groups who have come back to the Museum since we re-opened in July of 2020. Everyone who visits the VHM will learn about the horrors of the Holocaust so that it can never be repeated.
Asher provided the following statistics:
ADL statistics from 2021 tracked an all-time high of anti-semitic incidents in the United States – 2,717. “Thankfully there were no deadly attacks in 2021.”
He noted, “It was three years ago that ADL Director Jonathan Greenblatt was scheduled to speak here on Yom HaShoah. He was on the West Coast and called me to tell me that there had been a shooting at the Poway Synagogue and would have to stay in California. We were lucky to have the Associate Director , Doron Ezickson speak to us.
He noted, “I can report to you that the Governor Glenn Younkin has appointed a Commission to Combat Antisemitism in Virginia and I have been asked to serve. (The first meeting was Wednesday, May 11.) I hope we can make great strides in combatting this continuing menace to all of us.” See Federation article on the Commission for a full list of the members.
Asher next introduced Carole Weinstein to award the Annual Carole Weinstein Prizes for Tolerance and Justice in Visual Arts.
Richmond has become home to many Holocaust and contemporary genocide Survivors and refugees. It is the Virginia Holocaust Museum’s mission to tell those stories, educating and helping to ensure that the words “Never Again,” are someday realized.”
For the 2021-2022 art contest students were asked to use the Museum’s collection. They watched Survivor interviews, read about survivors’ lives and looked at their family photos to show us how the stories of local survivors have impacted and affected them.”
Carole Weinstein next announced the winners. and he thanked her for her support of this important contest each year.
This year there were 98 entries into the competition with over 90 schools represented. The judges for this year’s competition were – Shana Sandhaus, Evaluation and Research Specialist, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Arts and Education Division; and Holy Markoff, a local artist.
Junior Division (Grades 6-8)
1st: Amira Sadieva
2nd: Violet Frank
3rd: Teerada Mueangchanthuek
Honorable Mention: Elena Contreras
Senior Division (Grades 9-12)
1st: Sarah Martin
2nd: Jessica Israel
3rd: Pumiphat Jitnual
Honorable Mention: Allyson Williams
(See the graphic with this article)