New York Times Bestseller Michael Bornstein will Headline USY’s Zikaron BaSalon Event Series, Bringing Holocaust Survivors into Teens’ Homes
New York, NY, April 13, 2017–This Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s (USCJ) youth group, United Synagogue Youth (USY), is partnering with Michael Bornstein, one of the youngest survivors of Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp and co-author of the New York Times best-selling memoir Survivors Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017), for a different kind of commemorative event.
Bornstein will “headline” USY’s third annual Zikaron BaSalon, “Memories in the Living Room,” event series, which removes the formality and politesse from Holocaust remembrance by inviting survivors to speak with small groups in the relaxed, intimate atmosphere of private residences.
At the event in Caldwell, NJ, Bornstein will speak about his childhood in Poland, his family, and his internment at age four. The gathering will be livestreamed into Yom HaShoah events across North America.
“Zikaron BaSalon powerfully connects Jewish teens with a painful, but pivotal period in our history,” said Rabbi David Levy, Senior Director, Teen Learning, USCJ. “By empowering our teens to be the conveners for bearing witness, they act as agents to connect generations of Jews to the events of the Holocaust.”
Zikaron BaSalon events are structured in three parts, beginning with the Holocaust survivor’s testimony, followed by a reflective, creative segment that could range from reading poems to singing songs. Finally, there is a moderator-led discussion relating the evening’s themes to contemporary issues such as discrimination of minorities, foreign relations, treatment of refugees, and the future of Holocaust remembrance.
Bornstein’s event is the first in a series that USY is hosting across North America including gatherings in the greater Los Angeles area, CA; the greater Washington D.C. area; New City, NY; St. Paul, MN; Pittsburg, PA; and Edmonton and Toronto, Canada.
Zikaron BaSalon was started in by young Israelis seeking to make Holocaust remembrance, traditionally marked by solemn state-sanctioned ceremonies, relevant and meaningful for younger generations. The program was introduced to USY in 2014 by Michal Chacham, USY’s International Shlicha, Israel educator, from the Jewish Agency.
“In Israel, Zikaron BaSalon has changed the way young people relate to the Holocaust, and I believe it can engage diaspora teens in the same way,” Chacham said, “The different approach to Yom HaShoah allows for reflection on how we continue to mark this day as we move farther away from it in time. Bringing the living, breathing memory of the Holocaust into one’s home collapses historical barriers and prompts teens to think about the Shoah’s impact on their own lives.”
Those interested in joining the livestream or hosting an event can contact Michal Chacham at [email protected] for more information.
United Synagogue Youth is Conservative Judaism’s premiere North American youth group, run by its parent organization, USCJ. USY’s empowers youth to develop friendships, leadership skills, a sense of belonging to the Jewish People, and a commitment to inspired Jewish living through meaningful and fun experiences rooted in Conservative Judaism’s approach to learning, spiritual expression, and social responsibility.
USCJ is a community of North American kehillot (congregations) committed to a dynamic Judaism that is learned and passionate, authentic and pluralistic, joyful and accessible. USCJ creates the spiritual, intellectual, and managerial network that empowers our kehillot to fulfill their sacred mission and connects them with a common sense of community, shared mission and purpose. To learn more, visit www.uscj.org.