As we celebrate July 4th, our independence and our rights to practice our religion and the freedoms that go along with it, meet Rachel Shnay, Award Winner and Co-Chair of Yad Vashem Young Leadership.
The American Society for Yad Vashem Annual Spring Luncheon took place on Thursday, May 30th at the Pierre Hotel in NYC. Over 350 women from across the country joined survivors and their children and grandchildren to remind the world that love wins over hate and that despite our great losses, Hitler did not win. I am pictured here with Jill Goltzer, MTS,Young Leadership and Communications Coordinator.
One of the reasons I support the Young Leadership Of Yad Vashem is because I believe it is important for me to engage with future generations about speaking up and fighting for Israel. I believe we have an obligation to teach and learn facts and not opinions about all of Jewish history and learn about what our young Jews are interested in culturally, economically and religiously.
The day did not disappoint. The standing room only was filled with three generations of emotional, glamorous Jews, making sure the world will never forget history’s worst atrocity to any group of people.
Rachel Shnay, known as Rachie’s Bakes on social media, was honored, along with her mother and sisters.
Rachel and I have a lot in common. We food blog, fashion blog and create and collaborate designs with other designers and on our own, and we both are not afraid to speak out. We love our Israel, we demand Holocaust education, not Holocaust denial and we love supporting Jewish businesses.
The YLA co-chair gave a powerful and impactful speech that left everyone in the room energized and recommitted to the cause of Holocaust remembrance and education. Looking out into the crowd, Rachel asked that we not allow for history to be rewritten; that we give our children a voice and the tools to fight anti-Semitism. Reflecting on today’s society, Rachel strongly stated, “We have the wave of hate rising up so high against us. Don’t wait for it to smack you down for you to wake up.” She encouraged everyone to visit Yad Vashem, even if they have been before. You learn something new every time you visit.
Rachel Shnay and I also have something in common. We are graduates of New York University. Instead of sitting on the sidelines when she, like many were outraged at remarks made at the commencement from an invited headline speaker, Shnay took action. She created a petition addressed to the president of New York University demanding an apology and change.
What started as a small, one young woman task, has grown and become an international discussion one month later:
almost 30,000 and counting…
I was sitting at a Shabbat table in the Old City in Jerusalem, and a former aid to Netanyahu recognized me from a video of the speech I gave at the Yad Vashem Luncheon, which apparently went viral. She was very impressed with my words, my call for action and my petition. I received countless emails, texts and messages on Instagram, with incredible feedback, and of course, a few negative comments. People were inspired to say more, do more and stand up against the rise of anti-Semitism, not to be indifferent, but to be proud.
We need to keep the momentum alive and make sure that others like Steven Thrasher know that under no circumstances, can someone take a graduation ceremony, or any gathering, as an opportunity to spew anti-Semitic hate. Under no circumstance will the Jewish community allow for an institution like NYU, which is heavily supported by Jewish donors, to honor someone with a history of anti-Semitic beliefs.
The luncheon included a Yad Vashem exhibit “Stars Without a Heaven: Children in the Holocaust.” The exhibit presents a collection of anecdotes, narratives,
and memories of Jewish children caught up in the crucible of the Holocaust. Despite their appalling situations and living conditions, children still engaged in imaginative play, sketching and writing, expressing their hopes, dreams,
and fears. In this exhibition, a selection of drawings, poems, letters, and toys offer a moving and fascinating window into the lives of Jewish children during the Holocaust.
On a side note, the Young Leadership Of Yad Vashem runs great programs and many singles attend and socialize at them. A “kosher” way to date. The organization invites all ages, religious affiliations and backgrounds to participate. The next New York event features my good friend, Sami Steigmann. Sign up here:
Cindy Grosz is on social media as @cindyscorners
She can be reached at email@example.com