CEO Letter 4.9.21

I am moved every year by the three commemoration days we observe this month.  The traumas incurred by the victims of the Holocaust, honored on Yom Hashoah, seem inconceivable to me that so-called members of civil society entirely lost sight of the humanity of others. I have the utmost respect for the Israeli soldiers recognized on Yom HaZikaron who ensure the existence of their nation and the well-being of their citizens. I appreciate the time to honor them as I do our nation’s own living and fallen servicemen and to also mourn victims of terror.  Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day, provides an elated and uplifting celebration after these dark, but important moments.

Yom Hashoah takes place from April 7-8 and is a somber remembrance of everyone who perished in the Holocaust.  Although the pandemic continues, we continue to fulfill our duty to ensure no one forgets the horrors of the Holocaust.

For a second year, we hold our 24-hour Reading of the Names virtually.  Thank you to Lillian Rappaport and Kesher Israel for their leadership roles.  Likewise, the Governor’s Civic Commemoration of the Holocaust was held online both years and I am appreciative of Hank Butler and other leaders at our partner agency Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition for ensuring this important observance continues during a pandemic.

Throughout the year, Lillian engages with local schools to provide Holocaust education and continues to do this as a volunteer online. Although we are not joining together at the Holocaust Memorial at Front and Sayford Streets, you can walk there any time to reflect on its somber purpose.  There are several funds at the Jewish Community Foundation supporting Holocaust Education, including participation in March of the Living, and upkeep of the memorial.  You can contact Paulette Keifer at 904-307-2413 for more information.

We remember fallen Israeli soldiers on Yom HaZikaron on April 13-14 and celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Independence Day) on April 14-15.  Hopefully, next year we can come together as a community to commemorate these important occasions. See our cover story for more information about special programs from our national organizations, JCCA and JFNA, that we hope you’ll attend as a follow-up to last year’s phenomenal programs, and watch for Israeli programming throughout the year.

PJ Library families can participate with Lori Rubin on Zoom for family friendly activities for Israel Independence Day. Contact Lori at for more information if you don’t already receive PJ Library information.

Let me know how you will be observing these important commemorations. You can reach me about this or other matters at or 717-236-9555 x3104.