University Recognizes Victims of Holocaust in Yom Hashoah CeremonyApril 28, 2014

Hazzan Tahl Ben-Yehuda of the Congregation Beth Shalom, sings the traditional Ayl Malay Rachamim at the 2014 Rockhurst University Yom Hashoah ceremony Monday, April 28.

On Monday, April 28, members of the Rockhurst University community observed Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, for the ninth straight year alongside friends from the Jewish community.

Organized in cooperation with the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, Yom Hashoah at Rockhurst has for nearly a decade served as a day of reflection on the relevance of the Holocaust in today’s society.

This year’s observance incorporated the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Days of Remembrance 2014 theme, “Confronting the Holocaust: American Responses,” by honoring the life of Ilse Marcus, a Jewish woman from Germany who, as a refugee fleeing German persecution on the passenger ship the St. Louis, was denied entry to the United States in 1939.

The occasion was marked with a somber six-hour reading of the names of those killed by the Nazis by 36 different volunteer students, and faculty, staff and Kansas City community members.

The observance concluded with a short prayer service in the University’s Finucane Jesuit Center, featuring the Jewish funeral prayer the Ayl Mahlay Rachamim sung by Hazzan Tahl Ben-Yehuda of Congregation Beth Shalom and musical selections from the Rockhurst University Choir and the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy Choir under the direction of Nick Brown.

Through those prayers, songs and reflections, the event stressed the shared bonds among people of different faiths, the importance of compassionate action in the face of wrongdoing, and the need to act against the continuing tides of anti-Semitism and hate in the world today.

Among the millions of victims of the Holocaust were 152 Jesuits. A plaque dedicated in 2007 on the Rockhurst  campus near the outer entrance to the Finucane Jesuit Center honors those victims. It is thought to be the only plaque of its kind in the world.

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