Learning from a Difficult Past

THE HOLOCAUST IS a historical event that no doubt continues to have a major impact on the Jewish community across the globe; but as important as it is, it can often be difficult to process.

For the first time in many years, this April the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys is aiming to tackle the issue head on.

On Monday, April 24, the Jewish Federation will be parterning with the Pasadena Playhouse to pur on a theatrical performance and a talk-back panel discussion to commemorate Yom HaShoah. The event will recognize the occasion and use it as opportunity to reflect on the community’s history and future.

Jewish Federation Executive Director Jason Moss said the introduction of a Holocaust remembrance event into the organization’s programming, especially after more than 10 years of not doing so, is significant.

“Sometimes the congregations do Yom HaShoah programs, but they are like vigils, you might have names of those that were killed read. They are typically memorial type programs, more somber, understandably so,” Moss said. “But a program like this allows us to experience art and our history together and not just acknowledge it but commemorate the lasting impact it has had on people’s lives.”

The program is not only a new venture for the Jewish Federation, but it also involves an exciting new partnership with the renowned Pasadena Playhouse. Moss worked with newly-appointed Playhouse Executive/Artistic Director Danny Feldman to bring the idea to fruition.

When Feldman took the helm in 2016, Moss said he was quick to reach out.

“I think it’s important for us when opportunities like this come, for the Jewish Federation, as the voice for the community, to really reach out and partner with organizations and communities that are interested,” Moss said. “We can help bring people together and represent the Jewish community in the many types of programs and activities we do.”

Though the final details of the program are still being ironed out, Moss said that he envisions an artistic representation of the struggles the community and individuals faced during this difficult part of the world’s history. Ultimately, from the performance and the panel that will follow, Moss said he hopes that the audience will get to feel the first-hand experience of those who suffered during that time. Something, he said, that can uniquely come from art.

The program is being created as part of the National Jewish Theater Foundation & Holocaust Theatre International Initiative’s Third Annual Holocaust Remembrance Day Play Readings initiative.

“We sometimes forget that we can learn from past events and I think that is part of our responsibility to keep the memory of this alive because it really has shaped our entire world,” Moss said.

“And the fact that it only took place 70-80 years ago, it’s still in our recent history … and that there have been other instances when similar events have occurred that have targeted people because they are seen as different,” Moss added. “I think it’s important for us to utilize, take advantage of these types of opportunities and to show the similarities and the universality of things.”

To purchase tickets to the event and for more information, visit www.jewishsgpv.org or call (626) 445-0810.


Lauren Gold is a contributing writer to Jlife magazine. 


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