Temple Shalom hosts virtual Holocaust commemoration event

The TriCounty Holocaust Remembrance Committee created a recent Online Yom Hashoah event due to the COVID-19 crisis and hosted a special writing and art competition for area students.

The Holocaust Remembrance was held April 21 via the Zoom platform because of the closing of Temple Shalom of Central Florida and St. Timothy’s Catholic Church. Susan Sirmai Feinberg and Phyllis Kalter co-chaired the event, while Bob Gold, Mike Broverman and Kalter presented key parts of the educational programs.

Teresa Pearlman, first place, The Villages Charter School

Second-generation survivors Syd Tenenbaum, Susan Clark, Feinberg, Bob Konig and Lynn Wallace presented family stories, while Michele Uss, John Uss, the Skipper and Tenenbaum supplied beautiful music for the program and Rabbi Zev Sonnenstein provided support in the team effort.

“Everyone involved kept a positive attitude in a very short period to put on this event,” Feinberg said. “We really pushed the envelope or the cloud to make our program work with some of the limitations of Zoom.”

Esly Villeda, first place, Wildwood Middle High School

Feinberg said more than 300 people took part in the event and many others requested to view it afterwards. She said many participants stayed online for the entire service but some information and slides were missed. That led the committee to produce a multimedia presentation for Temple members, friends and the Interfaith Community to view the presentation in full, she said.

The online presentation integrates photos, videos, text and music in a modular format. It allows viewers to pick and choose parts of the presentation, in addition to watching it in its entirety. This flexibility provides users with opportunities to review parts of particular interest and is ideal for various playback devices.
The multimedia presentation was recorded in the Meditation Garden outside the front doors of Temple Shalom. Visit tscfl.org/holocaust view the multimedia presentation.

Neela Balcharon, second place, The Villages Charter School

The 2020 Holocaust Writing and Art Awards also have been completed. For 10 years, the Temple Shalom Holocaust Education Committee, currently headed by Broverman and Marlene Sontz, has worked closely with educators from The Villages Charter School, Wildwood Middle School and South Sumter Middle School. They have created the common lesson and prompts and had teachers select the best essays and art for submission. Then, the Temple Holocaust Education Committee selected the winners.

The funding for the cash prizes came from the Temple Shalom Jack Vitale Education Fund. This year, the committee worked with nine educators and three schools and chose winners from hundreds of local students.

Alexander Gosselin, second place, Wildwood Middle High School

“Again this year, we were impressed with the quality of the work submitted to our program,” Broverman said. “Hundreds of students not only looked at a number of sources but made connections between the 1940s and today, which will positively influence their future behavior. A special thanks to the teachers and administrators who made this art and writing project so successful.”

The educators involved include Jenny Cannon, Jessica Christian, Desiree Frazier, Mary Ann Innes-Gajos, Peggy Irwin, Susan Kirkland, Inara Oxendine, Brandie Parks, and Morris White.

Kearstin Smith, third place, The Villages Charter School

The student winners were:

ESSAYS
The Villages Charter School
First – Grace Froehle
Second – Marissa Couture
Third – Isabella Sullivan

Wildwood Middle High School
First – Esly Villeda
Second – Jesely Otero
Third – Joanna Gongon

South Sumter Middle School
First – Naomi Reed
Second – Emma Bogue
Third – Macie Wilkinson

ART WINNERS
The Villages Charter School
First – Teresa Pearlman
Second – Neela Balcharan
Third – Kearstin Smith

Wildwood Middle High School
First – Esly Villeda
Second – Alexander Gosselin
Third – Amarion Corbin

Amarion Corbin, third place, Wildwood Middle High School

The committee also offered thanks to the technical team and the producers on the multimedia presentation, including Jeff Jagmin, Feinberg and Sherry Levin. Jagmin, who served as technical director and webmaster, works with Jagmin and Associates. He has worked in multimedia and web development for more than 30 years and in addition to Temple Shalom, his clients have included LPGA, Wisconsin Department of Tourism, Medical College of Wisconsin, Dan Jansen Foundation, Wisconsin Collaborative Divorce Community and J. Wexler Law.

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